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In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, students have been partaking in a contest to see who among them can catch coronavirus first, says a city council member.
Students who have already been diagnosed with the virus are intentionally attending the parties, according to ABC News.
Sonya McKinstry, the Tuscaloosa City Councillor said the “COVID parties” have been organized by students as part of a game with the goal of infecting each other with the virus responsible for over 127,000 deaths in the United States alone.
She added that the party organizers are intentionally inviting others who have tested positive for the virus.
"They put money in a pot and they try to get COVID. Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense," McKinstry noted. "They're intentionally doing it."
An ordinance was unanimously passed by the City Council after Smith’s briefing and requires residents to wear face masks in public.
Fire department spokesperson, Holly Whigham said, “We are not releasing any statements about what was said last night.”
Randy Smith, the Tuscaloosa Fire Chief confirmed the reckless behaviour on Tuesday when speaking to City Council.
During a briefing to the council, Smith showed concern for the amount of parties occurring in Tuscaloosa County “where students, or kids, would come in with known positive.”
"We thought that was kind of a rumor at first," Smith said to the council members. "We did some research. Not only do the doctors' offices confirm it but the state confirmed they also had the same information."
It is still not clear whether students were infected by the coronavirus-positive attendees.
In a statement, city spokesman, Richard Rush 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 is worried that some students may show up to the parties without knowing that others intend to infect guests.
"We're trying to break up any parties that we know of," McKinstry said to ABC News.
"It's nonsense," McKinstry added. "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?"
Dr. Scott Harriss, an Alberta State Health Officer, suggested that people wear face masks even when they are not required by the state.
"We know face coverings aren't perfect and they don't stop everything," Harris said. "But they do limit transmission."
Alabama Department of Public Health spokesperson, Arrol Sheehan said the “Safer at Home Order” for the state explicitly notes that people with coronavirus “shall be quarantined to their place of residence for a period of 14 days.”
Sheehan added that violating the order can result in fines of up to $500.
"Suspected violations of the home quarantine order should be reported to law enforcement and the local health department," she said.
"Personal responsibility means it is everyone's responsibility," said Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey at a news conference. "If we continue going in the wrong direction, and our hospitals are not able to handle the capacity of patients, then we're going to reserve the right to come back in and reverse course."