In mid August, we reported on a story about a wedding reception in Maine with around 65 people that took place on August 7, approximately one month ago. After about a week and a half the positive coronavirus cases among wedding attendees was around 18, and there were 24 cases that could be contact traced directly to that wedding. Now there are 147 cases and 3 deaths resulting from that single gathering. These are the people that the Maine CDC knows about, there are surely asymptomatic and less severe cases among family and friends who have not been tested or reported. Here’s People’s story on this. It’s a case study in how this virus spreads quickly.
At least 147 new coronavirus cases and three deaths have been linked to an August wedding in Maine that violated the state’s guidelines, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Robert Long told CNN Saturday.
The updated numbers come just five days after the health agency announced that the wedding in Millinocket had spread the coronavirus to a nursing home and a jail in Maine. The wedding, held on Aug. 7, had 65 attendees, which is above the state’s limit of 50.
A secondary contact of a wedding guest, who is a nursing home staffer at Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center in Madison became infected, leading to 15 more people at the nursing home to test positive for the virus. Maplecrest is more than 100 miles from the wedding’s location.
A staff member at York County Jail in Alfred who attended the wedding also contracted the coronavirus, spreading it to 19 additional staffers, seven of their family members and 46 inmates at the jail, which is more than 200 miles from Millinocket.
The current number of infections linked to the wedding has more than doubled since Aug. 25, when the Maine CDC said the total had risen to 53, with 30 cases in people who attended the wedding, 13 secondary cases and 10 tertiary cases. The health agency had initially reported on Aug. 17 that the wedding had led to 24 infections.
“What we are dealing with is a giant tube of glitter. You open a tube of glitter in your basement then two weeks later you are in the attic and all you find is glitter and have no idea how it got there,” Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said on Aug. 25.
“That’s what Covid-19 is like,” he continued. “You open up glitter in Millinocket and next thing you know you are finding traces of it at a jail complex in York County. It’s just emblematic of how quickly, silently and efficiently it can spread.”
The inn where this wedding was held lost their license for a little while but has since gotten it back. As I mentioned in my prior coverage of this story, there are so many other events and gatherings in states where the CDC and local officials aren’t keeping track of cases and aren’t contact tracing at all. Even if they were, we still have a loud, obnoxious group of yokels who think that their freedom to spread germs is more important than other people’s lives. I’m sure that the cases resulting from the Sturgis rally in South Dakota are in the thousands but we”re not privy to that information, partially because it’s more difficult to track but also because it was in a state with a Republican governor.
My son and I drove past a frat party this weekend with at least 20 college students, all outside but none with masks, who were closely hanging out and not socially distancing at all. It was incredibly frustrating and upsetting. If I don’t go to the grocery store first thing when it opens or late at night a half hour before it closes, I regularly see about one third of the shoppers without masks. (At 7am everyone wears masks but there are more people. At 9:30 pm there are far less people but usually one or two aren’t wearing masks.) I live in rural Virginia, where masks are required by order of the governor and there are multiple signs on store doors about it. Many stores give out masks at the door but people still won’t wear them and no one is enforcing that. It’s getting to the point where I massively distrust and dislike most people. I’m trying to stay positive, but it’s tough. Thanks for listening to me complain.
Update: While the Big Moose Inn claims there were signs that masks were required, there is an investigation into whether guests were actually wearing them. A statement from Big Moose Inn claims the event was held indoors in two rooms and that they misinterpreted the capacity limits.
These are stock photos credit: alvarocvg, cluttersnap and Alasdair Elmes on Unsplash.