Students in Tuscaloosa, Alabama are reportedly attending “COVID parties” where attendees gamble on who will get sick first, according to local officials.
City Council member Sonya McKinstry testified on Wednesday that a series of previously reported parties were all part of a morbid game that included intentionally inviting COVID-positive students in an attempt to intentionally contract the deadly virus.
“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.
City council members did not mention the University of Alabama by name, but the school is the largest college in the city and the flagship school of the state’s university system.
Tuscaloosa City Fire Chief Randy Smith briefed the council on these parties earlier this week, saying that authorities thought students’ intentional gambling on virus transmission “was kind of a rumor at first,” but added, “We did some additional research …. not only did the doctor’s offices help confirm it but the state confirmed they also had the same information.”
Despite the news, McKinstry insists the city is taking the public health threat of coronavirus seriously.
“We’re trying to break up any parties that we know of,” she told ABC News.
There have been at least 37,536 recorded coronavirus infections and 926 fatalities in Alabama.
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