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Did Alabama COVID-19 parties really happen? Health officials can't confirm

A Tuscaloosa city councilor said this week she heard of students holding parties and wagering over who would get infected first.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala — The Alabama Department of Public Health said it could not verify reports of so-called COVID-19 parties where students deliberately tried to become infected, but also warned people not to try it.

Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry told news outlets this week that she heard of students holding parties and wagering over who would become infected.

The department said it could not verify any parties where persons tried to contract COVID-19 but warned that it is a dangerous and sometimes deadly virus.

“Persons should not willfully expose themselves to this virus both for their own health and the health of others,” the department said.

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Tuscaloosa Fire Chief Randy Smith told the City Council on Tuesday that fire officials confirmed some students had attended parties despite knowing they were infected. The department thought the parties were rumors, but Smith said after some research, officials discovered they were real.

The Department of Public Health said people with COVID-19 are to remain in home quarantine and could be fined for violating quarantine.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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