There are reports of many parties in the city of Tuscaloosa and surrounding areas over the past week.
The world is adhering to social distancing norms—avoiding crowded places, staying at home, etc—in fear of getting infected by coronavirus. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has failed to deter some college students in Alabama, US, from arranging parties, known as ‘COVID parties’.
After reports of such parties being organised came to light, there was a huge uproar on social media.
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The city of Tuscaloosa and its surrounding areas have seen several COVID parties over the past few weeks, according to reports. However, authorities have started taking actions a few days ago. The Alabama Department of Health said it “has not been able to verify such parties have taken place”.
Alabama is one of many states in the US which is reporting a record number of Covid-19 cases for the past week; it has raised fears of a “second wave” of coronavirus infections. In fact, for the past two days, Alabama has reported over 1,000 infections.
The state has reported 43,450 Covid-19 cases and 984 fatalities so far related to coronavirus. In order to limit the spread of Coronavirus, Governor Kay Ivey has also extended the state of emergency to September 9.
The concept of the ‘COVID party’ is simple: whoever gets infected first, wins the prize money. For these parties, both COVID positives and uninfected students are invited. Then bets are placed on who contracts the virus first. The student who tests positive for Covid-19 first after the exposure to the virus in the party wins the money made off the ticket sales.
Along with Tuscaloosa, a city in western Alabama, which is home to The University of Alabama and several other colleges, Walla Walla County from Washington has also reported such parties getting organised in the city. Officials blamed COVID parties as the reason for more than 100 cases in the region.
According to an AP report, COVID parties came to light after Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith confirmed the incidents to the city council last week. Initially, the authority thought it was some rumour. The City Council probed it. “Not only do the doctors’ offices confirm it, but the state confirmed they also had the same information,” City Council member Sonya McKinstry said, as reported by The Indian Express, citing CNN report.
The city is taking strict actions on such parties. However, authorities are finding it difficult to trace all as many students have out-of-state addresses.