Desperate No-Vaxxers Paying COVID-Positive People $150 for Dinner and COVID

ROME — The messages began appearing on Telegram days after Italy announced a new vaccination mandate requiring anyone over 50 to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or risk heavy fines and even dismissal.

Here, in the pandemic’s first epicenter outside of China, Italy has paid a heavy price with lockdowns that crippled the economy and killed more than 140,000 people. Vaccination mandates have become the main strategy moving forward, but a small number continue to resist.

The only alternative to vaccination is to have recovered from the infection, which must be recorded on a person’s national health card. “I’m urgently looking for a positive and I’m ready to pay,” wrote a desperate anti-vaccine, according to Italian police cracking down on covert COVID encounters and other scams ahead of the Feb. 1 deadline for over- 50 vaccines mandate.

Shortly after the new law was announced, enterprising opportunists began offering COVID parties where people who test positive for the disease mingle and mingle with those who want to catch it – a racket in Tuscany even includes a truffle dinner with Barolo wine, with a positive test infection for around $ 150.

Other scams have also appeared. Two people have been arrested in Rome after a COVID-positive man used the health card of a person who wanted to bypass vaccines to get tested at a pharmacy. When the COVID-positive man chose to pay with his own credit card – which obviously did not match the health card of the man who wanted a positive COVID diagnosis attached to his – the pharmacy performing the test reported them both.

Infectious disease specialist Pier Luigi Lopalco has told Italian television that COVID parties and other scams are against the law and those involved should be tracked down and arrested. “It uses the same logic as playing Russian roulette. For a person who has never had COVID, who has not been vaccinated, encountering this virus can mean a mild form of the disease, but it can also mean ending up in intensive care, ”he said. on Italian television. “The discriminating factor between these two events probably lies in genetics. And there is nothing to do to find out in advance.

He added: “No one can know until they are infected whether they are from the lucky group that will not have serious consequences or that less fortunate group that can end up being intubated.”

The trend is not that different from anti-vaccine parents who threw measles parties for their children when vaccinations became mandatory in Italy, which led to legislation that made such practices illegal.

After an anti-vax nurse was arrested for hosting a COVID party in Milan last week, virologist Roberto Burioni tweeted his distaste. “I would pay any amount for myself (and my loved ones) to get the vaccine, instead there are people who pay for not having it,” he wrote. “It’s like paying to remove the airbags from your car. “

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