Whenever a life-altering development like coronavirus comes along, new words and phrases get coined. Two phrases that have entered our vocabulary in recent weeks are social distancing and sheltering in place.
Unhappily, another new coinage has recently joined their ranks: coronavirus party. Headlines are now cropping up increasingly about get-togethers, sometimes made up of dozens of people, who are either ignorant of the health risks of COVID-19 or merely defiant of directives to avoid social contact.
Some of these get-togethers are comparatively small. Over the weekend, a New Jersey man invited nearly 50 people to a coronavirus party in his 550-square-foot small apartment. Others are massive. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that 60 to 70 carloads of young adults held an hours-long get-together last week “that was reminiscent of an Eagles tailgate party.” (RELATED: Surprise! Spring breakers now testing positive for coronavirus)
The problem with the devil-may-care attitude on display by participants at such events is that they are risking harm not only to themselves but to people they came into contact with after the party’s over. With evidence emerging that COVID-19 may be transmitted through the air and the threat of as many as 200,000 coronavirus-related deaths in the U.S. before all is said and done, this is a serious — and risky — business.
Sometimes that reality strikes home hard. Last week a young adult in Kentucky who attended a “coronavirus party” left with an unexpected party favor: She has since tested positive for COVID-19.