Students in Tuscaloosa, Alabama who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus have reportedly been throwing parties around the city in an effort to see who can catch the virus first.
According to ABC News, Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry said students have been putting together “COVID parties” as a game to intentionally infect each other. She says she recently learned of the parties and subsequently informed city council.
"They put money in a pot and they try to get COVID. Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense," McKinstry said. "They're intentionally doing it."
Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith, according to ABC News, told his city council on Tuesday (June 30) that he has confirmed the students’ reckless behavior.
"We thought that was kind of a rumor at first," Smith told council members. "We did some research. Not only do the doctors' offices confirm it but the state confirmed they also had the same information."
Smith did not say what is being done to end these parties or what schools the students attend. Tuscaloosa is the seventh-largest city in Alabama and home to The University of Alabama as well as several other colleges.
It is unclear if COVID-positive students ended up infecting anyone at the parties they attended.
In a statement to ABC News, Richard Rush, a city spokesman, said the city "is currently working with local agencies and organizations to ensure that we do everything in our power to fight this pandemic."
McKinstry fears that some of the people attending these parties aren’t actually aware of the intent and putting themselves in danger without fully realizing they are being purposefully exposed to those who are infected.
"We're trying to break up any parties that we know of," McKinstry told ABC News. "It's nonsense. But I think when you're dealing with the mind frame of people who are intentionally doing stuff like that and they're spreading it intentionally, how can you truly fight something that people are constantly trying to promote?"
For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
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