Alabama students hold COVID-19 parties with prize for first sick person

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (NEXSTAR/AP) — Officials in an Alabama city said several college students organized “COVID-19 parties” as a contest to see who would get the virus first.

Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry said students hosted the parties to intentionally infect each other with the new coronavirus. McKinstry said party organizers purposely invited guests who tested positive for COVID-19.

“They put money in a pot, and they try to get COVID. Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense,” she said, according to the New York Post.

Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith confirmed the incidents to the City Council on Tuesday.

Smith didn’t say whether actions would be taken against the students. He also didn’t say which schools the students attend.

“It makes me furious,” McKinstry said in an interview with CNN. “Furious to the fact that something that is so serious and deadly is being taken for granted. Not only is it irresponsible, but you could contract the virus and take it home to your parents or grandparents.”

Alabama has reported about 39,000 coronavirus cases, and its death toll is approaching 1,000.

Dr. Jaimie Meyer, Yale Medicine Infectious Disease Specialist, said she is not surprised about the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in younger people.

She pointed out that they are mobile and taking advantage of activities reopening, adding that she feels many also think they are not as vulnerable to this infection.

“We certainly are seeing cases uptick among people in their 20s, so they need to know that they are not immune to this disease,” she said. “That they also need to practice safe precautions in terms of keeping their distance and wearing masks if not for themselves, then again, for the people who are most vulnerable in our community.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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