Some young people in Alabama are throwing COVID-19 parties, a disturbing competition where people who have coronavirus attend and the first person to get infected receives a payout, local officials said. She said she recently learned of the behavior and informed the city council of the parties occurring in the city.
McKinstry said party organizers purposely invited guests who tested positive for COVID-19.
"They put money in a pot and they try to get COVID", she told the news outlet.
Students are reportedly throwing parties and whoever catches the virus from an infected person first, wins a cash prize.
"We thought that was kind of a rumors at first", she said. "We did some additional research", he said.
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Tuscaloosa is home to the University of Alabama as well as several other colleges and has seen a spike in cases, with a total of 384 people testing positive in the last week, according to the Department of Public Health.
Tuscaloosa City Council members unanimously approved a mask requirement during a meeting Tuesday.
Smith did not reveal which school the students attend.
Richard Rush, a city spokesman, said in a statement to ABC News that the city "is now working with local agencies and organizations to ensure that we do everything in our power to fight this pandemic".
McKinstry blasted the students for putting people at risk.
"We're trying to break up any parties that we know of", McKinstry told ABC News.
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"It's nonsense", McKinstry added. "I think it's careless, and it made me mad as hell that we're constantly trying to do everything we can to slow the spread while they're just having a damn party trying to spread it". Breaking that quarantine can incur a fine up to $500. At least 947 people have died from the virus in Alabama.
As of Thursday, there were more than 38,000 positive cases in the state - 2,049 of which were in Tuscaloosa County alone.
But despite that concern, some students in Alabama are actively trying to come down with the coronavirus. Retail stores are allowed to open with a 50% occupancy rate.
Smith, who wore a face-covering in the briefing, didn't state what measures were being taken to curb such activities from happening in the future and also stayed away from naming the schools to which the students belonged. "But they do limit transmission".
"We know face coverings aren't ideal and they don't stop everything", Harris said.
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