Officials: College students threw COVID-19 contest parties in Tuscaloosa

Local News

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

Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry said students hosted the parties to intentionally infect each other with the new coronavirus. 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. Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith confirmed the incidents to the City Council Tuesday.

Smith didn’t say whether actions would be taken against the students. He also didn’t say which schools the students attend.

City Councilman Kip Tyner calls this behavior reckless and disturbing.

“Kids are kids and kids do stupid things and this is one of them. You just shake your head because they are not realizing what they are doing has serious consequences,” Tyner said.

A University of Alabama spokesperson tells CBS 42 the students involved in the COVID-19 parties are not UA students. CBS 42 received a statement from UA late Thursday afternoon.

“We have been aware for weeks of the rumors about COVID parties. We conducted a thorough investigation, and although we have been unable to identify any students who may have participated in these types of activities, we will continue to follow up on any information we receive and educate our students about essential precautions,” the statement read.

Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith confirmed Tuesday during Council meeting that students with the virus were having parties. 

Tyner tells CBS 42 he hopes whoever these students are who were involved will learn from the mistakes.

“Young people need to step back and stop being so selfish and realize that we all should that what you do is going to affect others. You know they need to just exercise common sense,” he said.

CBS 42 reached out to the Tuscaloosa Fire Department trying to find a location and when the so-called COVID-19 parties took place. TFD did not provide that information.


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