Man Who Went To COVID Party to Build Immunity Dies From the Virus

An Austrian man who went to an Italian "coronavirus party" in an apparent bid to build immunity against COVID-19 has died from the virus, according to local media reports.

The 55-year-old died in Austria last week after contracting the virus. Similar parties are now prevalent in the Italian city of Bolzano and elsewhere across the province of South Tyrol, Rai Alto Adige reported, citing Patrick Franzoni, deputy co-ordinator of a COVID unit in the city.

Franzoni said he and colleagues are aware that some young people are deliberately attempting to catch COVID-19, with the ultimate goal of obtaining a "green pass" without being vaccinated against COVID-19.

"Green passes" were first introduced in Italy in August, and were made mandatory for the workplace last month. The certificates are obtained by either being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or naturally recovering from the virus within the past six months. The certificates are also required in other parts of Europe.

"We have received more than one account from doctors of patients who admitted to having been infected on purpose," he said, according to the news outlet.

"[They do this] to develop antibodies, and to obtain the green pass without vaccination. There are long-term consequences and even young people can end up in hospital."

From December 6, Italy will require the health pass for access to cinemas, theatres, gyms, nightclubs, ski lifts and stadiums, and indoor dining at restaurants and bars.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi, announcing the measures, told reporters on Wednesday: "We are seeing the situation in bordering countries is very serious and we also see that the situation in Italy is gradually but constantly getting worse."

In explaining the concept of "coronavirus parties," Franzoni said at least one attendee is infected with COVID-19 and other partygoers deliberately try to catch the disease from that individual. They do so "not realizing that the virus is also dangerous in children and young people," he said.

The Prosecutor's Office in Bolzano has reportedly opened an investigation into the superspreader events, according to the Independent.

It comes as many European countries are swiftly reimposing COVID restrictions on citizens amid a sharp surge in infections. The WHO said earlier this month that the EU has become the epicenter of the pandemic once again, given that recent coronavirus cases in the region account for nearly three-fifths of global infections.

The EU might halt air travel from areas where a new COVID variant, B.1.1.529, has been detected, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission told reporters on Friday.

Doctor at an ICU in Brussels
Nurses and doctor tend to a patient inside the negative pressure room during the night shift of April 10 to 11, 2020, in the intensive care unit exclusively for COVID-19 patients at the Ixelles Hospital in Brussels. An Austrian man who went to a “coronavirus party” in an apparent bid to build immunity against COVID-19 has died from the virus, local media reports say. ARIS OIKONOMOU/AFP/Getty Images