Video of July 4 party goes viral, organizer mildly worried

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A video showing hundreds of people partying in Diamond Lake, near the Michigan-Indiana border Saturday, has gone viral.

Many viewers are calling the gathering dangerous and irresponsible, as coronavirus cases continue to surge.

One of the party organizers told News 8 he’s receiving a lot of threats after the video of the party he posted to Instagram was shared millions of times on the internet. The push-back was so intense that he didn’t want to identify himself by his last name.

“People hate us,” Keith said. “We’re getting a lot of threats and a lot of negative feedback.”

Keith said critics are wishing death and sickness upon him after his video surfaced showing people gathering in large groups, not social distancing and not wearing masks during a 4th of July party.

News 8 asked Keith what he said to people who say he is helping to spread the virus.

“We say, I mean, we’ll find out in a couple of weeks,” Keith replied. “I have minimal worries. Yeah, it could’ve spread the virus, but it also could not have spread the virus.”

Infectious disease experts called the large gathering unacceptable.

“It’s extremely frustrating to see just no regard for social distancing,” said Dr. Russell Lampen, division chief of Infectious Disease at Spectrum Health.

Lampen said the likelihood of spreading COVID-19 at the lake was high.

“A number of studies show up to 40% of people infected with COVID-19 have little to no symptoms, so they may have no idea they’re sick but still capable of transmitting diseases to other people,” Lampen said.

Keith said his camera did not capture some people who were social distancing or a warning he issued about the dangers of gathering in groups.

“We did make some announcements warning not to get too tight and close to each other, but the young kids want their freedom and have fun,” Keith said.

Although Keith said he’s been throwing the party with other Cass County residents for decades, doctors said this year, he should’ve broke tradition.

“We’ve been doing it for 30 year, and we didn’t want to stop this year,” Keith said.

In an email Monday, Tiffany Brown, press secretary for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, issued the following statement:

“While most Michiganders safely enjoyed their holiday weekend, it was incredibly disappointing to see so many people gathering in large groups and not practicing social distancing. COVID-19 is still very present in Michigan, and this is not a time for Michiganders to let their guards down. We must continue to do everything in our power to flatten the curve and prevent more spread.”

Press Secretary Tiffany Brown

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