College students in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who have tested positive for COVID-19, have been present at parties and are involving themselves in an alarming contest to see who can contract the novel coronavirus first.
According to Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry, students have been conducting "COVID parties" as a game for the purpose of spreading the illness to each other. The contagion has over 127,000 fatalities in the United States.
The individual who can contract the coronavirus first will be declared as the winner winning a pot of money, reported Daily Mail.
The city councilor stated that the organizers of such parties in Tuscaloosa purposefully invited individuals diagnosed with the coronavirus.
McKinstry noted that the disturbing competition "makes no sense," according to Metro.
Randy Smith, Alabama's fire chief, said he initially thought the news was a rumor but has since been proven by doctors’ offices and the state who acquired the same information.
Attendees of the said parties would bet on who will get infected first, reported Insider.
Alabama had registered over 38,000 coronavirus cases and 947 fatalities as of Thursday.
McKinstry explained, "They put money in a pot and they try to get COVID. Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense. They're intentionally doing it."
The news coincides with the city council deliberating unanimously to pass an ordinance ordering people to wear face masks in the street.
The COVID parties transpired despite repeated warnings that the coronavirus can be fatal.
COVID-19 is transmitted from person to person through droplets. Officials have advised to avoid large gatherings.
The fire chief did not indicate if actions would be carried out against students and did not divulge the names of schools the students attend.
The University of Alabama, the largest school based in the state, and several other colleges are located in Tuscaloosa.
Tuscaloosa is the 7th largest city in Alabama.
The new coronavirus displays mild or moderate symptoms among a number of people, including fever and cough that eventually clear up after 2-3 weeks. For high-risk people, it can result to more serious illness and can be fatal.
Although it has been advised by officials, wearing face masks has not been mandated.
The state recorded over the previous 2 weeks almost 10,700 COVID-19 confirmed cases, which is almost 28% of Alabama's overall tally of over 38,400 as of Wednesday.
The University of Alabama in March canceled face-to-face classes and its spring commencement to mitigate the prevalence of the coronavirus. They are looking to reopen the university for a number of face-to-face classes in autumn, according to the school's website.
The first individual affirmed by a doctor to have contracted the coronavirus in the reckless competition takes home the money made off the ticket sales, McKinstry said. There also have been numerous parties in the city and the areas bordering it, and possibly more that state officials are not aware of.
A number of the college students involved were from out of state, Smith said.
McKinstry denounced the college students' COVID parties and labeled them as "careless."