Coronavirus Parties Are a Bad Idea

Charlotte A. Moser


June 18, 2020

Editorial Collaboration

Medscape &

Guiding Patients and Families

Part of the role of healthcare providers is to help patients and families make sound decisions based on the best available evidence. Recommending intentional exposure to COVID-19 is risky for the individual sitting in front of you, and it is risky for their families, friends, and neighbors because:

  • We don't know if intentional exposure will provide long-term protection or protection against reinfection.

  • We don't know which patients will experience delayed-onset or long-term consequences of infection.

  • We don't know which individuals will adhere to the minimum 2-week quarantine recommended after exposure.

  • We don't know which secondary contacts may suffer more severe disease or outcomes.

  • We don't yet have a toolbox of proven treatments, nor do we have healthcare capacities prepared for large local and regional spikes in cases.

This time has been marked by feelings of uncertainty and lack of control. However, it is important that patients realize infection is not inevitable, the choice between public health and the economy is not mutually exclusive, and intentional exposure is not a risk-free choice. Together, we control our collective destiny by caring for one another as communities reopen, not by risking ourselves and each other in a game of roulette with this new and deadly virus.

Charlotte A. Moser is the assistant director of the Vaccine Education Center and creator of the Parents PACK program at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. With Paul Offit, MD, she coauthored Vaccines and Your Child: Separating Fact from Fiction.

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