A massive house party was thrown in Chicago, Illinois this weekend, drawing outrage from around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic. Videos from the function were posted online, and soon circulated to health experts, government officials and international pundits. Many condemned the party guests for not taking social distancing seriously enough.
The party took place on Saturday night, filling a Chicago-area house to the brim with people who could not possibly stay 6 feet or more apart. The crowd seemed to be made up mostly of young adults, packed in shoulder-to-shoulder on multiple floors of the house. Facebook user Tink Purcell posted a video of the party on Facebook, while others streamed the ordeal on Facebook Live. Before long, even Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfood weighed in.
"I have seen the video which shows what appears to be a house party taking place inside a Chicago residence," Lightfoot tweeted on Sunday. "While most Chicagoans are doing their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, reckless actions like these threaten our public health and risk erasing the progress we have made. We will hold those responsible accountable."
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made a smiliar rebuke, according to a report by WTTW, saying that the partygoers "violated the trust of their friends and family," not to mention the stay-at-home executive order he issued for the state.
Even in the video, the revellers seemed to acknowledge that their activities were against the rules. One person remarked: "you can't even move in this b—!" Another person commented that 800 people were watching the live stream. The Chicago Police Department posted a statement on Twitter on Sunday morning, saying that they will disperse crowds like this per the governor's executive order, provided they are able to find them in time.
"While we cannot authenticate the nature or location of the gathering, we want to remind everyone of the social distancing requirements in place," a CPD spokesperson wrote. "CPD will disperse crowds in violation of social distancing requirements, and if necessary, issue citations or as a last resort, enforce via arrest."
When criticism broke out online, some partygoers defended themselves, saying they believed they were safe from the coronavirus at the party. The morning after posting the video, Purcell wrote on Facebook: "I had my mask and sanitizer I was good."
Experts say that masks, hand sanitizer and other precautions are no replacement for social distancing, which must continue to prevent an overload on the medical infrastructure of the U.S. For more information, visit the websites of the CDC and the WHO.