Dining with death: Italian anti-vaxxers are PAYING $160 for dinner and wine with COVID-positive people so they can catch coronavirus and avoid getting the shot
Italian anti-vaxxers are paying £110 to have dinner and wine with Covid-positive people so that they can catch coronavirus and avoid getting jabbed.
A new vaccine mandate in Italy requires anyone over the age of 50 to be vaccinated from February 1. The unvaccinated risk paying a large fine or losing their jobs.
Under the mandate, the only alternative to getting the vaccine is to recover from Covid-19, due to the body’s development of antibodies during an infection.
In Italy, recovery from the infection must be registered on a person’s national health card, and people are taking drastic measures to get the exemption.
Soon after the announcement of the mandate, people began offering Covid parties to allow for those infected with the virus to mingle with those that want to catch it, hoping they would go on to recover and obtain the pass.
One such party – uncovered in Tuscany – included a truffle dinner with Barolo wine, along with a Covid-positive person. Attendance cost £110.
Health staff administers anti-Covid-19 vaccines at the Valentino hub in Turin, Italy, 12 January 2022, ahead of the Italian government’s vaccine mandate that will require all over-50s to be vaccinated by February 1, or face a hefty fine
‘I am urgently looking for a positive and I am willing to pay,’ one anti-vaxxer wrote online according to Italian police, cited by The Daily Beast.
Speaking on Italian television, infectious disease expert Pier Luigi Lopalco said that Covid parties were against the law, and people involved should be arrested.
‘This 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 it means ending up in intensive care,’ he said.
‘The discriminating factor between these two occurrences, probably, lies in genetics. And there is nothing that can be done to know in advance.’
Italian law enforcement is working to shut down the underground Covid meetups and other scams ahead of the the February deadline.
This is not the first time reports of Covid parties have come out of Italy.
At least one person died and several others were in intensive care after attending ‘coronavirus parties’ in Italy in November last year.
A 55-year-old man died in Austria after being infected at a ‘corona-party’ in the province of South Tyrol, northern Italy, health bosses said at the time.
At least three more people, including a child, were hospitalised in the province after catching the virus at similar parties, including two who are in intensive care.
Health chiefs believed the people are anti-vaxxers who want to become infected to obtain a ‘green pass’, which at the time was a requirement of work in Italy.
There have been also several cases of Italian police investigations into fake health passes, and one headline-grabbing case of a dentist who went into get his jab with a silicone fake arm.
After his stunt landed him under criminal investigation, the dentist announced he had gotten vaccinated and said he was merely protesting the government’s vaccine mandates for health care workers.
Last week, police in Italy also arrested a nurse on charges that he faked giving coronavirus vaccinations to at least 45 people so they could get a health pass fraudulently, ditching vaccines in a bin and even putting bandages on his ‘patients’ so no one would suspect the scam.
Police in Ancona, on Italy’s eastern coast, also placed four alleged accomplices under house arrest, accusing them of finding anti-vaccine customers who were willing to pay for a health pass rather than get the shots.
Forty-five people who allegedly received the passes as part of the scam are under investigation, required to check in daily with police and prevented from leaving their cities, a police statement said.
Police filmed the nurse at work in the huge vaccine hub of Ancona, apparently squirting the needle’s contents into the medical waste bin before pretending to inject the patient’s arm, and then putting a bandaid on.
The suspects are accused of corruption, falsifying information and embezzlement, though police added that the fake vaccination scheme also wasted a ‘fundamental public resource.’
Italy has cracked down increasingly hard on the unvaccinated, requiring proof of vaccination or a recent recovery from COVID-19 to access a host of leisure activities as well as services such as public transport.
The new ‘super’ health pass requirement, which eliminates the ability to show just a negative test to gain access to services, comes as many Italians returned to work and school after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and as Italy’s new COVID-19 infections are soaring past 100,000 per day.
Pictured: Restaurants near the Pantheon in Rome, Italy, 10 January 2022. Italy has cracked down increasingly hard on the unvaccinated, requiring proof of vaccination or a recent recovery from COVID-19 to access a host of leisure activities
The government has responded to the omicron-fueled wave of infections by passing new restrictions aimed at encouraging vaccine holdouts to get their jabs or be increasingly shut out of recreational and even essential activities, such as taking a bus or subway to work.
Italians have generally supported the restrictions, which in recent months have also included outdoor mask mandates and a standard health pass to get into workplaces.
The new restriction were enforced Monday by police fanning out at train stations to check passengers’ vaccine status and make sure they were wearing the more protective Ffp2 face masks, which were now required on public transport.
‘I’m happy that they are controlling everywhere,’ said Carola, Pasqualotto, a member of the Imperi sport center where the front desk was checking members’ vaccination status. ‘I am in favor of mandatory vaccines for all.’
Premier Mario Draghi, though, has faced criticism for his government’s decision last week to mandate vaccinations for anyone 50 and older.
Critics say the fine for noncompliance, which starts at 100 euros ($113), is far too low to make defying the requirement hurt.
But the fines rise significantly – to as high as 1,600 euros (nearly $1,800) -for those in that age group who enter their workplaces starting in mid-February if they still aren’t vaccinated.
Meeting with reporters on Monday, Draghi defended the vaccine obligation.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, attends the press conference on the latest anti-Covid measures adopted by the Government, at the Chigi Palace in Rome, Italy, 10 January 2022
‘The data tells us that those older than 50 run greater risks, and that intensive care units are occupied by two-thirds of those not vaccinated,’ the premier said.
Doctors have also been warning that the flood of COVID-19 patients in recent weeks creates the risk that hospitals will not be able to do regular surgeries or offer proper care to non-COVID-19 patients.
Italy, where the coronavirus outbreak first erupted in Europe in February 2020, has fully vaccinated 86 percent of its 12-and-over population, and nearly 75 percent of those who are eligible have received a booster.
But two million people out of Italy’s population of 60 million are currently positive, impacting essential services. School districts have complained they don’t have enough teachers to reopen, since so many are positive or in quarantine.
Two southern regions, Sicily and Campania which includes Naples, defied the government by keeping their schools closed on Monday. But after a parent challenged the closure in court, the schools in Campania were ordered to reopen on Tuesday.
Draghi said he wanted to depart from the previous government’s decision to close schools during the first year of the pandemic, calling schools ‘fundamental to democracy.’
‘We want to be cautious, very cautious, but also to minimize the economic and social effects, but above all on kids, who suffered the most’ by the long school closures, Draghi said.
Young people ‘in the evening go to pizzerias, they do sports all afternoon,’ the premier added. ‘It makes no sense to close schools and to not close the rest’ of society.
Italian teachers are required to be vaccinated and some 99 percent are, according to Education Minister Patrizio Bianchi.
Italy reported 101,762 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, against 155,659 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of coronavirus-related deaths rose to 227 from 157.
Italy has registered 139,265 deaths linked to the virus since its outbreak emerged in February 2020, and has reported 7.55 million cases to date.