Massive covid outbreaks at summer camps remind us the pandemic isn’t over

As things open up, masks are off and vaccination status isn’t checked, people are getting sick. There have been massive 100 person-plus covid outbreaks resulting from at least two summer camps. Last week there was an outbreak at an camp in Illinois where vaccinaton was not required. At Christian youth camp Crossing Camp, in Rushville, IL, 85 campers and two staffers tested positive and at least 11 more people were infected at a conference some people attended afterwards. Masks were not required even indoors. (This same organization was supposed to have another camp in July. They’ve simply postponed it to August after the outbreak, no vaccinations or masks are mentioned on their website.) And we’re hearing that at another church camp in Texas, which also didn’t require masks or vaccinations, 150 people were infected. Of course they were. There were at least six breakthrough cases in people who were vaccinated there. People are known to have been infected with the delta variant.

Nearly 150 children and adults have tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a church summer camp in Texas, officials announced.

The Clear Creek Community Church, based in League City, Texas, announced that Sunday services would be canceled this week due to the number of cases.

Over 400 people participated in Camp Creek, a four-day camp for 6th to 12th graders, in late June.

Upon returning, more than 125 of the people who attended tested positive for the virus, the church said in a statement, and “hundreds more were exposed to COVID-19 at camp.”

The Galveston County Health District, which is investigating the outbreak, told ABC News that 57 Galveston County youth and adults who attended the camp tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 90 people, including non-Galveston County residents, have self reported to the district that they tested positive for the virus, bringing the total tally to at least 147.

It’s not clear if the campers who are eligible for the vaccine were vaccinated prior to the camp trip. The church has not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.

The church is contacting all those impacted.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have sought to love our neighbors by practicing strict safety protocols. We are surprised and saddened by this turn of events. Our hearts break for those infected with the virus,” Bruce Wesley, the church’s lead pastor, said in the statement.

[From ABC News]

As an aside, I absolutely hate it when people frame vaccination, masking and social distancing as a “personal choice.” Your choices affect everyone you come in contact with and you can’t pray away coronavirus! You can’t fail to take basic precautions, like getting vaccinated and wearing masks, and expect God to protect you. Experts are telling us quite clearly what we need to do to prevent covid. If you believe in God, he/she/they is showing us, over and over again, what happens when we fail to do these things. These are the same people who go to the doctor when they’re sick, but they can’t follow simple advice not to get sick. The stupidity of these people baffles me.

I truly feel sorry for these kids. They do not need to pay for their parents’ hubris. At least one camper was hospitalized and it can cause serious long term issues in children. Also, the CDC is a joke at this point. It’s ridiculous that they have not told people to put masks back on despite how the delta variant is spreading, even among the vaccinated.



Photos credit: Rachel Coyne and Jesus Loves Austin on Unsplash

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38 Responses to “Massive covid outbreaks at summer camps remind us the pandemic isn’t over”

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  1. fluffy_bunny says:

    Love your neighbor by getting vaccinated assholes.

    • josephine says:

      Yeah, don’t get the attitude of these religious groups. Gee, God protects me so I don’t need a seatbelt. And I can eat anything I want and don’t need to take medication when I’m sick. And my kids can play in the street and don’t need sleep at night. And I’m sure if I jump off a building, I’ll be ok because God.

      Christians are always so quick to point out that poor people deserve it because God grants them self-will so they just have to try harder, but they are also so quick to take no responsibility for their own actions because that same God is magically protecting them all and doesn’t expect them to actually use their brains or care about anyone else. There is no end to the hypocrisy of the religious.

  2. swedish chef says:

    Such a shame. The US could have been such a leader in controlling covid. All of this spread just means more chance for mutation and making the vaccines useless. There is wide access to the vaccine and people aren’t taking it.

    • Nyro says:

      The right wing governments around he world and their disinformation campaigns are to blame for all of this. We’re never going to get out from under this thing because they decided to politicize a pandemic. Smh

  3. Al says:

    Ugh. Personal choice. They’re all for it with vaccines and guns. How many of them are anti-choice when it comes to abortion access???

    I sincerely hope that the children infected with COVID recover quickly and without long term side effects.

    • Robert says:

      I wonder how many unplanned pregnancies happened at this church camp. And if those parents are still against abortion?

  4. PeacefulParsley says:

    That peanut butter comment? Spot on.

  5. Suri says:

    This was bound to happen. This disease is here to stay ….for some years… if not forever. Therefore its time to adopt face masks as part of daily wear. Its sad that everybody has sort of abandoned basic caution. Hence the increase in infection.

    • goofpuff says:

      Many other countries have had socially acceptable use of face masks for many years before the pandemic. Just people who are considerate of others wearing masks to not spread flu or cold.

      Apparently though the contingent of self-absorbed assholes who also like to police what women wear don’t like it when they’re asked to cover up themselves.

  6. olliesmom says:

    I hate to say this, and I hope that I’m wrong, but we could easily reach one million people that die from Covid and it’s variants before this is all over in the US because of these unvacinated idiots after it rips through their ranks this fall and winter. It’s only summer and it’s already started.

  7. Size Does Matter says:

    Are those pics from camp or a concert?

    • Celebitchy says:

      These are all stock photos

      • Size Does Matter says:

        Ah, thanks. I was thinking if that’s how they conduct camp maybe my little kids will stand a chance not getting infected at school. I’m worried these summer camps are foreshadowing what school will be like in the fall in Texas.

      • goofpuff says:

        @SizeDoesMatter I live and work in Houston (work in Clear Creek and live nearby) and I’m really worried about how fall will look like. I can’t wait until the vax is approved for my children who are all under 12. The remote learning was just not done well and mostly because the teachers were so hampered because instead of treating it like “we need to make sure we have a strong remote learning architecture in place” the school district was treating it like a temporary band aid.

        Not to mention the political BS of the conservative bunch around here with their heads in the sand.

  8. Haylie says:

    The pandemic taught me that people don’t care about their kids safety as much as they claim they do, and that the ”mama bear” protecting her Cubs is just a Karen throwing a tantrum about prom while teachers died of covid.

    • Twin falls says:

      Very much this.

    • nutella toast says:

      @Haylie YES. Look, I played high school sports and loved them and they were important to me – lifechanging even… but 16 and 17 year-olds are about to be actual adults and if the lesson they learn is that people need to die so they can play their senior year…I don’t know what to say about that. When parents scream that it’s the end of their kids lives, I have to restrain myself as an employee at a child advocacy center where we see kids suffering from some of the most horrific sexual harm you can imagine….It’s not even kind of the same. Your kid will dribble a basketball again. It’s not worth the underpaid basketball coach’s life (or your kid’s either).

  9. Sunday says:

    I’m just furious that the foreseeable future of my life has been turned into a D-list zombie movie because these a*holes absolutely need to breathe in people’s faces.

    The more the virus is allowed to rip through these communities, the greater the chance that it mutates into something even more infectious with even more power to breakthrough vaccines. Up to 25% of people who get infected have long-term symptoms, and a new study out of England shows that a significant portion of those infected have reductions in brain volume in areas focused on smell, taste, and emotional memory (!!!).

    Yes, I’m vaccinated, but I still don’t want to deal with the potential long-term effects of an unpredictable, ever-evolving disease that scientists don’t fully understand. F these people.

  10. Lauren says:

    When personal choices impact public health I’m sorry, but personal choices can go to hell. If you don’t want to get vaccinated, social distance or wear a mask because you feel it infringes on your rights you should really go live in an isolated island where you could do what ever the f you want, but not in a community with other people whose lives you impact with your choices.

  11. Emm says:

    My young kids have been to summer camp two weeks so far and are signed up for another two weeks. We did online school for them all year and we isolated from anyone for the first 8 months because one of our children had complex medical needs. Both my husband and I are fully vaccinated. We all needed this this summer because frankly my mental health is at an all time low and we have a situation with one of our neighbors who always complains when the kids are outside being, well kids. They need to get outside and be with other people and peers. The camp is outdoors at all times and they absolutely love it and have been having the best time, their excitement is something I haven’t seen in almost two years. There were rainy days when they had to go into a building for a couple of hours but I made them take masks and put them on if this happened and they did and they also said they were the only ones that wore masks. I’m not surprised considering the area we live in is full of magas and we are under 50% vaccinated and it does make me a little worried now that delta is out there (I haven’t seen anything about it in our area yet) but we literally are/have done everything we can to stay safe and it feels like we are the only ones. After the first week one of them did bring home a nasty cold but I honestly was expecting it since they haven’t been around anyone or gotten sick in two years. My husband said when he went to the store the other day he estimated about 5% were wearing masks which is so fucking insane but you can’t make these idiots do anything to keep themselves safe let alone others. People might think sending our kids is stupid and irresponsible but that’s where we are right now.

    • Kristen says:

      I understand the position your family is in – this has been an incredibly difficult year+ – and I’m not discounting how you and your children feel. However, it’s exactly the “we need” attitude that’s leading to these outbreaks. Need and want are not the same the thing – no one needs to go to summer camp – and the community we is more important than the individual we.

      • Emm says:

        I should’ve never made the comment in the first place because I knew people would come at me. Someone who got the vaccine at the first chance, someone who still wears a mask at all times and didn’t step foot inside of a store in over a year, someone who hasn’t seen family in almost two years, someone who begged their parents to get the vaccine, someone who will get their children the vaccine as soon as it’s available to them. If my kids don’t have a mom at the end of this because my mental health is in the shitter then I guess they should just be glad that at least I did the most by keeping them home. If anyone has five + kids ages 10 and under and has been quarantined with them for a year and a half and don’t have a yard for them to go out to play, don’t have a family that is vaccinated for them to see, then come talk to me. Come tell me your secrets because I’m obviously doing it wrong. It won’t be my kids who are causing an outbreak since we don’t go anywhere and don’t see anyone outside of them going to camp. It will be the other people in my community that didn’t get the vaccine and have been vacationing the entire time including this holiday weekend that will spread it to my kids and bring it home to us and that’s something we will have to deal with. We talk about mental health on this site all the time but when it comes down to it most people still have the attitude of “suck it up and shut up.” No one has any idea what the last two years of my life have been like, so thanks for your judgment. I was going to a therapist until covid and I was already on meds so I’m doing the best I can but it will never be good enough for some.

    • Sunday says:

      I feel for you Emm (though I agree with Kristen’s sentiments above).

      When your kid came home with a nasty cold, did you get them tested for Covid? Because it can manifest in different ways in children, and even though you’re vaccinated you and your husband can still contract it and pass it. We still don’t know the long-term effects it will have on kids.

      I don’t envy the decision parents have to make, whether to keep their kids isolated and therefore physically healthy (at whatever risk to their mental health) or allow them to interact with obviously unvaccinated people, putting them, you, and everyone you interact with at risk. I know which seems easier to deal with/less harmful to me, but then again I’m not a parent so can’t judge.

    • Twin falls says:

      I don’t think sending your kids to an outdoor camp was stupid or irresponsible.

      • Khl says:

        I don’t think it’s stupid or irresponsible either. I feel for you Emm, this last year and a half has been absolute hell for those with young children, and those who haven’t lived it truly don’t know. Yes, you do “need” this break and so do they. Why is it only on Emm do the most responsible thing for the community at all times when others around her do not and have not been for a year and a half? You are making sound judgments for your family. Many hugs.

    • Nope says:

      @Emm, I wrote you a message of support as a reply to your post, but instead it’s only showing up as a separate post–#19. I hope you see it.

    • Izzy says:

      This kind of decision is a risk-benefit decision, and in your case, the benefits outweigh the risks. Your kids have been taught to be careful in situations where there is increased exposure, like going into a building, but kids have been isolated for a year or more and it absolutely takes a toll.

      My dad and stepmom took one road trip. One. They visited two people who both have been extremely careful. They went to restaurants maybe four times. My dad still caught a cold. It’s not a surprise, given that none of us have been exposed to anything for a while now.

  12. Leah says:

    Not surprised. I’ve had several young, college age people tell me that this virus doesn’t effect them and so “why wear a mask, why get the vaccine?”. I was shocked by the arrogance shown towards a global pandemic.

    Well, the Delta variant isn’t the same as the OG C19’.

    I’m vaxxed but I’m still wearing the mask. Oops rhymes, lol. But seriously, plastered to my face in public until it and it’s variants go away.

    • Anne Call says:

      We live in very blue Santa Barbara where mask wearing was mandatory everywhere. Now not so much. I go inside very infrequently, but my few trips to CVS or local coffee place and even to outside farmers market, I’m wearing my mask. We got our first vaccine in January have been fully vaccinated for months. We started back playing in a local bocce league in June and after two weeks of finding out that some of the 20/30 somethings around us were not vaccinated, we’ve dropped out. One excuse was, “I had covid so I have the antibodies”. Ok then, let me introduce you to Ms. Delta Variant…

  13. Kristen says:

    “From the beginning of the pandemic, we have sought to love our neighbors by practicing strict safety protocols. We are surprised and saddened by this turn of events.”

    lolol. sure, okay.

  14. lucy2 says:

    At a church camp in Texas? I’m stunned, I tell ya, stunned.

    Personal choice goes away when it’s a highly contagious disease, IMO.

  15. Nyro says:

    This thing is me er going to end. All over the country, unvaccinated MAGA have been walking around without a mask and it’s spreading again.

  16. deering24 says:

    What the hell is going on with the CDC? Did Trump-scum infiltrate it beyond repair?

  17. bettyrose says:

    Vaccination is a personal choice like driving sober is a personal choice. FK anti-vaxxers!

  18. Christine says:

    “I truly feel sorry for these kids. They do not need to pay for their parents’ hubris.”

    This is exactly the point, and I don’t get why there are any adults, with children, wandering around with no masks; and further, if you have a family, and you are yelling about freedom of whatever, while not masking up, and raging at ghosts in your mind, you need to reevaluate your priorities in life. Do you honestly think that whatever political opinion you are espousing is more important than your nuclear family? I am baffled.

    I am really into the Bidens. If either of them told me I didn’t need to wear a mask, tomorrow, I would continue to do so, because I have an 11 year old, and I live in LA, and it’s still a pandemic.

  19. Nope says:

    @Emm, I hope you see this– I couldn’t reply to your original post, possibly because mine was too long. Which it is, but i have to try to sleep now. Anyway:

    I always lurk here and never comment, but I’m making an exception because I feel so strongly for you and we are in the exact same position–or at least that’s how it strikes me.

    My partner was unexpectedly fired 6 months before Covid hit and he was also in school and that made him ineligible for unemployment. That stressor retriggered my disordered eating–we could have lost our apartment–and he has acute ADHD and cannot cope at all with logistics in a crisis. After getting us on food stamps and Medicare I was able to line up therapy to deal with that starting in Feb 2020.

    It wasn’t about my food issues for very long.

    I was laid off immediately and had panic attacks and bouts of acute depression all throughout lockdown, though I tried so hard to mitigate them and be useful in my household and emotionally present with my family.

    Then my retail job opened up and called me back in Feb 2021 to my customer-facing job.

    Then two months ago I had a miscarriage that required two surgeries and my mind just broke.

    It’s still broken. I’m a mess. My husband and I have screaming fights now. I cry all the time and pulling myself back from wanting to die has been a huge f*cking effort. I am reckoning with a new level of disability (I have several chronic illnesses that cause me pain and fatigue.) The despair is overwhelming. I do Zoom therapy faithfully, I take my meds, I exercise, I rest, I look outside myself to do small things for others. But I’m having an identity crisis amidst acute grief. I’m barely getting through a given damn day.

    So yes, when I was able to line up free day camp for our 7 year old through a grant, we put him in it. There’s a lot of outdoor activity and they are masked. Am I worried about Delta variant? Yes, of course. But I hit my limit. I had to make a call.

    I followed all the rules. We locked down completely for months. I bought respirators with P100 filters for my family we wore them on all errands, and I wore mine at work until I was fully vaxxed. (Now I double-mask.) We were the strictest people in our friend group of cautious liberals. We formed a pod with one other family and they kept me sane.

    I didn’t see my sister’s children at all because they aren’t being careful. For them and a beloved mentor who has brain cancer, I left porch baskets with gifts.

    We were offered part-time distanced masked in-person school for him and we rejected it because of the risk. We were so careful.

    But I hit my limit. I was an inveterate texter can barely text my friends anymore because it connects me to my emotions and I can’t stand looking at my inner life at all and they are all suffering too. I use gossip blogs for my self-soothing emotional-regulating escape. Near-constantly.

    My kid is so much happier now that he is getting to play with other children and have a separate life to tell me about in the evenings. He’s much less clingy and his nightmares have dramatically decreased. He can use his imagination to entertain himself again. And I can pull it together enough to read with him again or play a board game. My husband and I are both regaining the ability to do a little emotional labor with each other. He’s catching up on a massive sleep debt. He’s able to do his schoolwork without constant interruption.

    But yesterday the zipper broke on the dress I was putting on to go to work and I had a panic/rage meltdown and biked to work crying all the way, hating myself for being awful, despairing about how slowly I am regaining function. Sick of being a mess. Sick of being a liability to my family.

    I don’t know what you are dealing with. But it could be similar to what I’ve been through in the past year and half, and the people who are criticizing you? They are welcome to come for me. And if they were laid off during the pandemic and spent it in a one-bedroom apartment with no car when it was no longer safe to ride the bus, spending hours on hold with unemployment with a small child climbing the walls and their mental health deteriorating on top of managing difficult health conditions and a complicated medication regimen, I might actually think they had something to offer me.

    Even more so if they spent the past four years counter-protesting white nationalists in their town and being afraid for their own safety and felt compelled because their entire extended family of origin voted for Trump and so they stopped seeing their parents in 2016. Yes, I’m blatantly virtue-signalling with this part. I added it because I wanted to demonstrate that I am a person of courage and will and principle.

    I now know what my psychological limits look like, because I have smacked into them face-first and I have been an unhinged traumatized mess for 2 1/2 months now. I need space to recuperate and he needs to be around some emotionally-regulated people and not be bored and lonely all the time, calling out our window to passersby in hopes of a little conversation with someone new.

    You know your limits, and you made a call. You aren’t cavalier about it. You made a cost/benefit calculation based on the resources you have. And damn straight, our children need us to stay alive and that is exactly what we are going to do for them.

    I desperately hope that our children will be safe until we can get them all vaxxed, but when the mental health of a parent is sustaining severe damage, it’s not the only health consideration in play for them or us.

    I support your call, mama. We know what our children need. And we’re going to keep our heads above water so our kids will have us around long-term. Pinky-swear.