Mass media events are the biggest threat in rising coronavirus cases and deaths


As the toll of the novel coronavirus continues to rise across Canada and the United States, super-spreaders stand out as a particular threat, according to infectious disease experts.A wedding in Maine left health officials wishing the happy couple had fled.

Sixty-five guests attended the Aug. 7 nuptials at the Big Moose Inn in Millinocket, Maine, a town that had previously not been affected by COVID-19. Health officials say the face mask and distance guidelines have been ignored as the party has grown to a size 100.

Over a month later, the Maine Center for Disease Control determined that this unique event resulted in 176 positive cases of COVID-19, including in a prison, at the church where the wedding officiant is the pastor, and in a rehabilitation and life center. Seven people have since died, none of whom even attended the wedding.

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“Right now in the state of Maine things are concerning,” said CDC Maine director Dr. Nirav Shah. “In my (weekly) media briefings I have always tried to be frank and direct and not to put things to sleep. This approach means that today I have an obligation to share my concerns with everyone. I am concerned about where we are at. Maine CDC is concerned with where we are at. And so everyone should be concerned about the current situation of COVID-19. ”

Compared to the rest of the United States, Maine has done a good job of containing the spread of the virus. With just over five thousand cases reported since the start of the pandemic, only Wyoming and Vermont have fared better. But the Maine CDC says they don’t want to wait for epidemics to sound the alarm.

“COVID-19 is not on the other side of the fence, it is in our backyard,” says Dr Shah.

Epidemiologists have long warned that large-scale events are what they fear most. By the time they know an outbreak has occurred, asymptomatic carriers could be far away.

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This week in Saskatoon, health officials said a party at a private residence that had 47 guests led to 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The host of the party has since been fined $ 2,000.

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Last week, Ontario’s Middlesex-London Health Unit determined that an outbreak at Western University was causing 15 young people, including 11 who lived in three different homes. Through contact tracing, they have now determined that the students had gone to parties and bars, resulting in 28 cases in total.

28 Western University students tested positive for COVID-19

28 Western University students tested positive for COVID-19

University of Toronto epidemiologist Dr Barry Pakes says Canada has experienced fewer high profile events than other countries because he believes most people follow the rules.

“We really know what we need to do,” he says. “And I think each of our roles is not only to be responsible for our own behavior, but also to have a positive influence on others. There are people who may think that “this will not happen to me”, and this is the kind of attitude that leads to these events. “

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The Bavarian seaside resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen is currently following a major event. Health officials said a woman was asked to self-quarantine after showing symptoms last week. She refused, choosing to go out into town instead. They are currently investigating 30 people who may have been infected and trying to determine if a recent increase in cases may be linked to it.

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