Person in Their 30s Dies After Attending 'COVID Party,' Thought Virus Was a Hoax: Health Official

A person in their 30s died in south Texas after attending a "COVID party," thinking the virus was a hoax, according to a health care official.

Jane Appleby, chief medical officer for Methodist Healthcare in San Antonio, said in a recorded statement to News 4 San Antonio that she heard a "heartbreaking" story about a 30-year-old patient who attended a COVID party.

"This is a party held by somebody diagnosed with the COVID virus and the thought is that people get together to see if the virus is real and if anyone gets infected," Appleby said. "Just before the patient died, they looked at their nurse and said 'I think I made a mistake, I thought this was a hoax, but it's not.'"

"This is just one example of a potentially avoidable death of a young member in our community and I can't imagine the loss in the family," the doctor said, adding that there are multiple patients in their 20s and 30s in critical condition due to the novel coronavirus.

Appleby said she released details of this case to show no one is "invincible" from COVID-19 that is adversely younger people.

"It doesn't discriminate and none of us are invincible. I don't want to be an alarmist and we're just trying to share some real-world examples to help our community realize that this virus is very serious and can spread easily," Appleby said.

Newsweek reached out to San Antonio health officials for comment, but did not receive a response back in time for publication.

So-called "COVID parties" have been an issue across the United States with younger people. Students from the University of Alabama organized multiple COVID parties to see who would get infected first, according to Tuscaloosa City Councilor Sonya McKinstry.

"They put money in a pot and they try to get COVID. Whoever gets COVID first gets the pot. It makes no sense...They're intentionally doing it," McKinstry said in an interview with ABC News July 1.

A North Carolina nurse said multiple patients attended COVID parties to intentionally try catch the virus. Yolanda Enrich, a nurse practitioner, said in a May interview with KOAT Action 7 News that medical professionals were worried "because not everyone that becomes infected with the virus produces antibodies."

"We have heard from a lot of patients and the community that they're unafraid of getting the virus, so people are actually out and about trying to get the virus – attending gatherings, parties – just trying to maximize their chances of exposure," Enrich said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper commented on the trend, calling it "completely irresponsible and absolutely unacceptable" at the time.

A COVID-19 testing center on July 7, 2020 in Austin, Texas. A San Antonio doctor said that a patient in their 30s died after attending a COVID party. Sergio Flores/Getty