Regardless of frequent warnings that coronavirus can be lethal, and the fact that this virus killed more than 127,000 people in the US and at least 947 people in Alabama alone, some students from Tuscaloosa apparently see it as a game.
The virus spreads one person to another through droplets, which is why so many health and public officials are urging the public to wear protective masks when leaving the house and avoiding mass gatherings.
However, Sonya McKinstry, Tuscaloosa’s City Councillor recently discovered that students are doing the exact opposite. Apparently, students were purposefully inviting people infected with coronavirus to parties in the city and the surrounding area.
According to ABC News, McKinstry said that the students put money in a pot as a ‘prize’ before trying their best to get infected with the disease.
“Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense. They’re intentionally doing it.”
Randy Smith, Tuscaloosa’s Fire Chief confirmed the news of the students’ reckless behavior to the City Council in a briefing on Tuesday, June 30, explaining ‘students, or kids, would come in with known positive [results]’ for the virus.
Smith admitted he thought it was ‘kind of a rumor at first’, he said the officials ‘did some research’ and confirmed the COVID-19 parties were happening through information from ‘doctors’ offices’, with the state also confirming they had the same information.
It’s still unclear if COVID-positive students infected anyone at the parties they attended, though Smith’s mention of doctors’ offices suggests there may have been some attendees who sought treatment and testing after the parties.
McKinstry is worried for the students that attended the parties without realizing their intent, in turn unknowingly exposing themselves to infected guests.
“We’re trying to break up any parties that we know of. 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?”
Smith did not disclose which schools the students are from. He didn’t also comment on what is being done to stop the reckless behavior, but hours after the briefing the City Council unanimously passed an ordinance requiring people to wear face coverings when out in public.
Alabama currently has a ‘Safer at Home Order’ in place, which explicitly states that people who test positive for the virus ‘shall be quarantined to their place of residence for a period of 14 days.’
As of Wednesday, July 1, Alabama had recorded 38,422 coronavirus cases, an increase of 10,696 in the last 14 days. Because of the increase of infections, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has announced she is extending the ‘Safer at Home’ order until July 31.