Covid-positive New Year’s Eve parties ‘not a good idea’ warn experts

Covid-positive New Year’s Eve parties ‘not a good idea’ warn experts
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Some people who tested positive for the coronavirus are planning to get together with other infected people in order to not miss out on a New Year’s celebration, but experts warn this is “not a good idea.”

“If you are infected, you better stay at home,” Sciensano virologist Steven Van Gucht told Bruzz.

One Brussels resident told the Dutch-language news outlet that she was still planning to party, despite testing positive for the highly contagious virus that has hundreds of Belgians currently being treated in intensive care wards across the country.

“We had invited quite a few friends, but that party can’t go ahead,” the woman said. “We still have some friends who tested positive and they will come to our flat. We’ll be seven in total for a small party – first a dinner, then we’ll see. Our other negative friends will party at another flat.”

Partiers say it’d be ‘pathetic’ to be alone for the holiday

That resident said she knows of other people also planning parties only for people who are infected with Covid-19.

“It would be a bit pathetic to be alone” on New Year’s Eve, she said, explaining why other infected people would be travelling to her apartment for a party.

Another person who wished to remain anonymous told Bruzz that having a party with another infected person was “a no-brainer.”

Biostatistician Geert Molenberghs (UHasselt-KU Leuven) pointed out that doing so is a violation of the current coronavirus measures.

“Those who are infected are supposed to isolate themselves at home,” Molenberghs said. “There’s a reason for that. You can’t go into public spaces. Going to someone’s home leaves no choice but to go through the public space, and then you can infect people.”

Newest variant is faster spreading

The newest variant of the coronavirus is significantly more contagious and faster spreading, and is already present in 72% of samples taken in Belgium. That variant, the Omicron one, comes on top of the Delta variant already being transmitted in the country.

“It’s an additional reason not to mix,” Molenberghs said. “People with a mild infection can make the disease worse, because they are more exposed to the virus. You can test positive with a low virus load. At such parties you will only increase that load, and that can even contribute to super-spread.”

Van Gucht said there aren’t any studies yet on the possibility of someone becoming sicker by being inside with another infected person.

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“The virus is going to build up in the air, but the virus is already there in your body,” Van Gucht said. “I suspect that you will not get sicker from it. Being in a room with other people who have tested positive doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem.”

Still, he agreed with Molenberghs that organising parties among infected people can cause risks in the public space.

“You move around, alone or not, and maybe even take public transport. Or if you are having a party, you also have to go shopping. I think it is better not to do that. If you are infected, it is better to just stay at home.”

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