It's hard to believe that anyone would intentionally catch COVID.

But Lehigh Valley doctors say that after hearing COVID is not as severe for children, or that the Omicron variant isn't as deadly, some people are having COVID parties with the goal of getting COVID and developing a natural immunity.

Doctors liken it to playing Russian Roulette.

"We have people in the hospitals that are very sick with the Omicron. As a matter of fact, just a couple weeks ago a very healthy 17-year-old girl in Philadelphia died," said Dr. Robert Murphy with LVHN.

Murphy says COVID is far more deadly than the flu, and by catching it intentionally you can become a vector for the spread of disease or end up with serious long-term health issues.

"Nurses are tired, doctors are tired, so the stress and strain on the health care system by having people intentionally get this disease put themselves and other members of the community at risk," Murphy said.

Dr. Jeffrey Jahre at St. Luke's says COVID parties are an irresponsible flash back to chicken pox parties.

"29,000 children have been admitted to the hospital and more than 1,000 have died, so how would you feel if you had a COVID party and it happened to one of your children?" Jahre said.

Jahre says prevention is better than a cure when it comes to fighting off COVID.

"Having a natural infection is the same for all practical purposes as getting one shot of the COVID vaccine," Jahre said.

Jahre says the strongest immunity for people of all ages comes from receiving a full series of COVID vaccinations.

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