Alabama students ‘throw coronavirus parties with prize money for who gets infected first’
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Students in Alabama are reportedly throwing “coronavirus parties” where guests are challenged to see who will get infected the quickest.
Tuscaloosa City Councillor Sonya McKinstry has shared concerning reports that students are intentionally inviting people infected with Covid-19 to parties in the city of Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas.
Ms McKinstry told city council members the students put money in a pot as a reward for the first person who gets infected with the disease.
She told ABC News: “They put money in a pot and they try to get Covid. Whoever gets Covid first gets the pot. It makes no sense.”
The city councillor is concerned some students may attend the party without knowing about the contest.
“We’re trying to break up any parties that we know of,” said Ms McKinstry. “It’s nonsense.
“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?”
Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith confirmed that such parties were taking place as he told the City Council on Tuesday about an investigation into the allegations.
“We thought that [it] was kind of a rumour at first,” said Mr Smith.
“We did some research. Not only do the doctors’ offices confirm it but the state confirmed they also had the same information.”
Arrol Sheehan, spokesperson for the Alabama Department of Health, stressed that the state’s Safer at Home order requires people who have tested positive for Covid-19 to quarantine at their place of residence for two weeks.
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Those who are in violation of the health order face fines up to $500 (£400).
At least 947 people have died after contracting coronavirus in Alabama and as of Wednesday more than 38,000 people have been infected with the disease.
After the state recorded an increase of 10,696 cases over the last 14 days, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced she is extending the Safer at Home order until July 31.
Shops have been asked to open with 50 per cent occupancy rate and gyms, entertainment venues, hairdressers and child care facilities must follow social distancing guidelines.
It comes after the US recorded a record daily high of 50,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday.