Officials: Students in Alabama threw COVID contest parties

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

Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry said students hosted the parties to intentionally infect each other with the new coronavirus, news outlets reported.

McKinstry said party organizers purposely invited guests who tested positive for COVID-19. She said the students put money in a pot and whoever got COVID first would get the cash.

“It makes no sense,” McKinstry said. “They’re intentionally doing it.”

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

The department thought the parties were rumors, but Smith said after some research, officials discovered the parties were real.

“Not only do the doctors’ offices confirm it but the state confirmed they also had the same information,” Smith said.

Smith did not say whether actions would be taken against the students. He also did not say which schools the students attend.

Tuscaloosa is home to The University of Alabama and several other colleges.

Tuscaloosa City Council members unanimously approved a mask requirement during a meeting Tuesday.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and those with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and even be fatal.

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Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.

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