A number of misguided residents in Edson, Alberta, a small Canadian town two hours west of the city of Edmonton, organized a "COVID party" intended to infect as many guests as possible with the coronavirus to "build up natural immunity," local news station CityNews reports.
Unsurprisingly, several partygoers ended up in the ICU. After all, COVID-19 isn't the common flu — nor is it chicken pox.
Local health experts were incredulous.
"It’s just unbelievable," University of Alberta virology expert Lorne Tyrrell told CityNews. "And it’s very sad and very irresponsible to think you’d get good immunity from the virus without getting serious disease."
It's no wonder locals are getting the wrong idea with misinformation swirling online. The news comes after Albertan country singer Paul Brandt posted on Twitter that "an Alberta doctor told me there is no medical need for me to be vaccinated as a COVID-recovered person," adding that he is "not an anti-vaxxer."
Fortunately, after chatting with experts, he decided to reverse his decision.
"I’d like to thank all of the health professionals who reached out and confirmed that this conversation about Immunity is one that needed to be had urgently," he added in a follow up tweet a day later.
"As I stated in yesterday’s FB post," he wrote, "it is good and responsible measure to strongly consider getting vaccinated, both for yourself, and for the rest of the community and country."
But whether that same message has managed to reach those currently battling COVID-19 in the ICU after attending the COVID party remains to be seen.
The consequences of contracting the disease are extremely serious. On Wednesday, in fact, the CBC reported the first COVID-19 death of a person under 20 in Alberta.