Officials in the southern U.S. city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama unanimously passed an ordinance this week mandating the wearing of face masks in public as a COVID-19 precaution after learning students were holding parties to see who could catch the virus first.
Council members heard Tuesday from Fire Chief Randy Smith, who investigated reports of the parties.
Smith said he and his staff thought the reports of parties in the city and throughout the surrounding county were merely rumors. But he said doctors and state officials they spoke with were able to confirm the reports are true.
Council Member Sonya McKinstry told ABC News she also had investigated the reports and said organizers of the parties purposely invited people who had tested positive for COVID-19. Partygoers would put money in a pot and whoever got the first infection would win the cash.
Tuscaloosa is Alabama's second largest city and home to the University of Alabama. As of Wednesday, the state department of health recorded 27,900 COVID-19 cases and 1,082 deaths.