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Minnesota health officials warn against ‘COVID parties’

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota health officials are warning against people holding or attending “COVID parties” as a way to share exposure to the coronavirus.

“This is a really, really bad idea,” state infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann said Wednesday during a media briefing.

Ehresmann said people exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 face a small but real risk of significant illness and complications as well as the risk of passing along the virus to family members.

“So if you’re thinking, ‘Oh, let’s just do this and get it over with,’ it’s really playing Russian roulette,” Ehresmann said.

While Edina has seen a surge in young adult cases, Ehresmann said officials have seen no evidence that the virus was transmitted at “COVID parties.” But she said officials have heard of people considering holding such parties.

Health officials reported Wednesday that confirmed coronavirus cases in Minnesota grew by 463, bringing the total to 39,589. Eight additional deaths were reported, including a person in their 30s with no known underlying health conditions, raising Minnesota’s death toll to 1,485.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.