A 30-year-old man in Texas has died from COVID-19 after he attended a ‘coronavirus party’ because he thought the pandemic was a hoax.
ABC News in the US reports that the man told nurses “I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.”
The hard-to-believe information was given to the news media by the chief medical officer of a hospital in the Texas city of San Antonio.
Party was hosted by someone diagnosed with virus
Dr Jane Appleby said in a recorded statement that the unidentified patient told nurses about the party, which she said was hosted by someone diagnosed with coronavirus.
“The thought is people get together to see if the virus is real and if anyone gets infected,” the doctor explained.
According to ABC News, Appleby said she shared the story not to scare people, but to make sure they understand that the virus can affect anyone.
County where man dies has more than 18 000 cases
Bexar County, where San Antonio is located, currently has 18, 602 confirmed cases, with an increase of 923 on Friday, according to the Department of Health.
The unnamed man’s death will strike a chord with officials in the city of Tuscaloosa in Alabama, where university students have been confirmed to be throwing ‘coronavirus parties’ with the aim of seeing who can become infected first.
Authorities say the idea is to organise a party and invite a few people known to be infected with COVID-19. The bulk of the party-goers, who are not infected, then put money into a pot and the first person to be infected takes the ‘prize’.
Incidents have been confirmed by city council
The incidents have been confirmed by the Tuscaloosa Fire Chief, Randy Smith, and by a city councillor, Sonya McKinstry.
Addressing the council, Smith said that initially the information seemed unbelievable. “We thought that was kind of a rumour at first,” the fire chief told the council members.
Tuscaloosa is the seventh-largest city in Alabama and home to the University of Alabama and several other colleges.