The BAFTAs were a superspreader event, ‘everyone’ who was in London has Covid

The BAFTAs were held in London two Sundays ago. The awards show featured a mostly maskless red carpet, and there were only a handful of people in the Royal Albert Hall wearing masks. Since I know everyone will yell “the rules changed, no one has to wear masks,” let me just say that if you’re a g–damn adult, you can still choose to wear a mask whenever you want. I still wear masks to the grocery store, and if I attended some big event with no social distancing, my ass would wear a mask. Actors, producers and directors chose differently at the BAFTAs and guess what? Word on the awards-season streets is that the show was a superspreader event:

As Oscar week kicks off, alongside the seemingly now two-horse best-picture race between The Power of the Dog and CODA, one of the biggest talking points is how an apparent COVID-19 outbreak during the BAFTA weekend may impact proceedings. At the Producers Guild of America nominees breakfast Saturday, much of the buzz was dedicated to a reported spike in London.

One source tells THR that the BAFTA weekend cluster has spooked some talent and filmmakers, who don’t want to take any risk of testing positive before the Academy Awards on March 27. “People are going to show an abundance of caution,” says the insider with regard to pre-Oscar festivities, although that may just apply to those who were at the BAFTAs.

As another source — who tested positive for COVID just days after attending the BAFTA ceremony and various surrounding events — says: “It seems the weekend may have been a super-spreader event.”

The British Academy has said it won’t comment, but the news comes as the U.K. experiences a surge in COVID cases, with an estimated 3.28 million people — 1 in 21 in the country — having tested positive for the coronavirus in the week to March 12, the day before the BAFTA ceremony.

[From THR]

Kenneth Branagh, Ciarán Hinds and some members of the Belfast team all tested positive days after the BAFTAs, and Branagh and Hinds are currently isolating and doing virtual appearances. The directors of animated film The Mitchells vs. the Machines, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, also tested positive, as did “a number of the National Geographic team who traveled to London for their nominated doc The Rescue.” One unnamed source told THR that “Literally everyone I’m speaking to at the moment says they have it” from agents to publists to journalists who were at the BAFTAs.

THR also points out that at the BAFTAs, people did have to show their negative tests to even get in the door, but as this shows, that system is not perfect. There were also a number of business-as-usual industry events in London that BAFTA weekend, from studio parties to fashion events and of course the dinner for nominees. It’s more than possible one of those events was the actual superspreader event. Or it could be that there were multiple superspreader events that weekend. Anyway, the latest Omicron variant is no f–king joke and it’s super-contagious, just like the first Omicron variant. Mask up, get your booster, etc.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.

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42 Responses to “The BAFTAs were a superspreader event, ‘everyone’ who was in London has Covid”

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  1. bros says:

    all I can think of is how much cumberbatch’s wife looks exactly like him in the face in that picture.

    • Cessily says:

      I just looked at the photo and thought it must be his sister.. they do look a lot alike in that photo. (I think this is the first photo I’ve ever seen of her)

      Someday people will learn the mask is not your enemy, until everyone is vaccinated and boosted this is our new reality. I have zero sympathy for any of them.

      • Mia1066 says:

        Where I am everyone IS vaccinated and boosted but we all spread covid too. Numbers are sky high at the moment.

    • Eggbert says:

      @bros they definitely look like siblings!

  2. girl_ninja says:

    Here in the states everyone is getting to comfortable. It’s ridiculous and maddening. We still need to take this seriously. Some public places have removed the signage and directions that say to keep 3-6 feet apart. I’m so sick of people being in denial and acting like this is over just because they don’t want to live in the real world.

    • Karkopolo says:

      St Patrick’s day shenanigans will probably end up being our tipping point for spikes to start up again. Lots of unmasked crowds, already signs of
      cases rising again.

    • Tiffany:) says:

      I agree. A family friend had invited us to an event for their child, but I knew that everyone would be inside maskless, so we didn’t go.

      I know everyone is so tired of the pandemic. I am too. But COVID isn’t finished with us, and there haven’t been enough studies on Long Covid or long term impacts (like increased risk of diabetes even with mild cases). Our health care system is going to be dealing with the ramifications for decades. People being carefree don’t fully understand the risks they are gambling with, because NO ONE understands all of the risks right now.

      I think we need more funding for Long Covid studies.

    • Eurydice says:

      No doubt there are a lot of people in denial, but even the CDC website doesn’t urge people to wear masks anymore. Their county risk map shows pretty much the whole country at low risk, which means “get a vaccine and get tested if you feel sick.” And even for the few counties at moderate risk, the guideline is “if you’re high-risk for severe illness, talk to your doctor about whether you should wear a mask.” Basically, they’re telling everyone it’s OK not to wear a mask.

      I suppose the fact that I don’t agree and will continue to wear a mask around people I don’t know means that now I’m the one who’s in denial and not “following the science,” but it’s worked for me thus far. I don’t mind being late to the party.

  3. Jay says:

    Yep, almost like this is a highly transmissible disease! Why do we have to keep learning this lesson again and again?

    Looking through those photos, I hope no pregnant people or attendees with young children were exposed. And this does not bode well for Oscars…

  4. Leslie says:

    Lol so I guess it’s actually a good thing William and Kate skipped the BAFTAs this year then

  5. milliemollie says:

    Of course it was a superspreader event. A negative test doesn’t have to mean you don’t have Covid.

    • The Hench says:

      Yes, people have not got their head around the fact that lateral flow tests are only 48% accurate on negative results I.e. lots of people do not test positive even though they have Covid.

      I have had exactly this thing happen as has one of my friends who, despite having a positive PCR test, continued to test negative on flow tests for six days afterwards.

      They are, however, very accurate the other way round so if you get a positive on a lateral flow test you have Covid.

    • swirlmamad says:

      Took 3 negative antigen tests and 1 negative PCR before I turned the 5th (antigen) test positive, 5 days after I started feeling symptoms. I was already starting to feel better at that point! Negative tests, especially home antigen tests, tell you nothing except how much virus is in your body at that particular moment.

  6. Teddy says:

    Just because mask mandates are lifted doesn’t mean the pandemic is over. More than 1200 people are dying of COVID in the US every day. Similar numbers in UK. And the thing is, even with so-called mild illness, there’s the risk of developing long-haul COVID, which is no joke. Protect yourself and wear a good mask. Just common sense.

    • OriginalRose says:

      I just googled it and the average number of people dying in the uk after testing positive from Covid is 161 per day as of March 21st. There has been a huge surge in cases though and I’m still choosing to wear a mask on public transport and at events (if I go to them) but I do wonder …now that covid is obviously here to stay, will we just be wearing masks forever?

      • Teddy says:

        Yes, that smaller number for the UK makes sense, considering how much larger the US population is. Thanks for looking it up.

    • Jillibillijean says:

      I both both vaccines, wore a mask all the time, got covid, and have long covid. It sucks. I still have chest pain, a sore throat and extreme fatigue. Idk why people are out partying. I go to work cuz I have to and try to minimize anything else. Crayzo.

      • Beana says:

        I’m so sorry you have long COVID!! I got it as well before the vaccines were available (I masked and distanced religiously but work retail 10 hours a day). A year and a half later, I still have chronic tinnitus, have developed sleep apnea, and my lungs get bad with mild colds. Every time someone expresses skepticism about vaccines or masking, I share my symptoms. Not that it seems to help much, most people seem to be selfish and stupid.

    • Tiffany:) says:

      I think there’s a fundamental disconnect.

      Just because a gov’t entity isn’t MANDATING that you wear a mask, does not mean that you should not wear a mask. It just means they aren’t enforcing and requiring masks.

      • Eurydice says:

        This is true. But there’s also a difference between non-enforcement and posting new guidelines.

  7. HeatherC says:

    Kaiser is right. Here in NY most mask mandates have been dropped. I still wear a mask because I want to. Just because there’s no mandate doesn’t mean you have to stop wearing a mask. I am getting out more, more things are open and the weather is getting nicer. But always with a mask because people in general are dumb and careless. A lot of places here say if you are vaccinated you don’t have to wear a mask but if you aren’t please do so. A lot of the ones who scream about wearing a mask are also yelling about the vaccinations, so you know the unvaxxed by choice are not wearing masks.

    • liz says:

      In NYC and same. I’ve essentially stopped wearing a mask outside, but if I’m running errands and will be in and out of the deli, dry cleaner, etc. I’ll just wear one and leave it on. They are still required on mass transit, too (not that everyone follows that rule).

      Hubby and I are going on our first “date night” in ages – to the Met Museum and they still require masks, so I feel comfortable going there.

      I’ll be curious to see how Questlove fares – his Insta story that weekend was his insane travel from the DGAs in Los Angeles to the BAFTAs in London and back to NYC to do the Tonight Show all in under 72 hours. I’m hoping he didn’t pick up COVID along the way.

      • CourtneyB says:

        I was at the MET last month and they will come at you over masks. I have glasses and sometimes my mask will slip a bit, especially when it’s hot. I’m usually quick to readjust but the security guard was quicker this time and told me to pull my mask up. (It was part way down my nose but still on.) They aren’t playing.

  8. Jennifer says:

    I’m already tired of “But I don’t HAVE TO!!!!!” There’s literally no reason why we should be going maskless/”back to normal” when omicron is so easily caught. Everybody has just given up and it’s your problem now, bitches.

  9. Elvie says:

    Mask mandates in my province are dropping April 3rd and I will still be masked.
    My husband contracted COVID in February at work. He works in a warehouse and does deliveries and he contracted COVID after driving in a truck with a co-worker for 3 hours, despite both of them wearing N95 masks. He tested positive, after daily negative tests, 4 days after the co-worker tested positive. His entire team at work got COVID.

    Amazingly, I never tested positive. I was in isolation for a week, isolating from even my husband in our 2 bedroom flat, but it was a wake up call. The virus lives in your body for days after you are in contact before you test positive.

    • Ripley says:

      My four year old tested positive about two months ago during his second quarantine in as many weeks as his daycare, you guessed it, doesn’t mask. My husband, 8 year old and I immediately masked up and changed sleeping arrangements (I was upstairs with the four year old and husband/older son downstairs), opened windows… the three of us never got it (not with LAT flow tests nor PCR) while he continued to test strongly positive into day 10 (and beyond). Even now, he still gets overwhelmingly tired even though he only really had one day feeling crummy (tired, febrile) during his time as positive. To see an energetic, happy four year old turn into a twice-a-day napper and constantly complaining of his legs being tired is terrible… Heartbreakingly terrible and he was not even “symptomatic” in the more specific sense.

      At my work, it is now mask optional and myself along with maybe five other employees continue to mask. I cannot begin to express how much I don’t want to get it nor my sons (the four year old again) and I don’t understand the willful ignorance that is taking place…. it’s almost like mass hysteria but over a mask. I honestly feel like I’m living in Crazy Town for a majority of my time at work or talking to other parents of my sons’ schools.

      • Noo says:

        @ripley I am so sorry your son is experiencing that and I really hope he can continue on his healing. It is so incredibly frustrating to see any sort of values based decision making out the window to protect the vulnerable like the under fives and immunocompromised or people living with other diseases.

        Lots of healing wishes for your little guy.

  10. JustMe says:

    Where I live we are easing out of restrictions but it’s spreading like wildfire. People have said the hell with it and are travelling etc. our neighbour province don’t even require you to isolate if you have it. So got covid go to work and share …and our health advisors have seemingly abandoned us and now only update cases once a week. It irks the hell out of me cause you know tourist season is coming up and we don’t want to scare the tourists- even if it means locals are dying

  11. LP says:

    I keep hoping that 1. as it gets warmer, more outdoor activities means fewer cases 2. this sub-variant of omicron doesn’t break through in the US the same as it has been doing abroad, given the different vaccines available. I saw a twitter thread of a medical expert theorizing that the available vaccines in the US versus England, Europe, etc may actually work a little more effectively now than they did for the original omicron wave…if I can find the thread I’ll link it!

    When Benedict Cumberbatch was on Marc Maron’s podcast late last year to promote power of the dog he said he’d just recovered from breakthrough Covid, so I’m guessing he thought he’d be immune after only three months or so? Could be a lot of people at the BAFTAs had breakthrough last year and assumed the same…as long as Tom hiddleston and Zawe Ashton are ok that’s all I ask!

    • Blujfly says:

      Unfortunately, warmer weather in the US means less cases for the temperate climates of the nation but a huge spike in cases in the warm weather states led by anti-vaccine charlatans. Not that you’ll hear much coverage of it given the national media’s refusal to cover Florida’s lies.

    • Fran says:

      I’m not sure I understand your comment about the different vaccines available in the US and Europe. Astra Zeneca may have been used a bit more in the UK but the majority of people in Europe were vaccinated with Pfizer and Moderna or a combination of both.

      • Noo says:

        @fran I think it is the J&J vaxx that had slightly better performance vs omicron and I don’t think that was used in Europe? I don’t know much about it as I’m in Canada and not sure if we even got J&J supply, no one I know got it. Maybe an American can comment: originally J&J was a one dose but it sounds like it was used as a booster too?

        Also as far as I know A-Z has not been approved by the FDA and not used at all in the U.S.

    • Jennifer says:

      People are now getting Covid again a mere month after getting it previously (John Mayer comes to mind), so there’s even less immunity than usual 🙁

  12. Kim says:

    Maybe this will free up an Oscars ticket for Rachel Zegler.

  13. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Texas had a storm blow through yesterday and overnight which I forgot about, and after picking up my son from high school, I decided to stop at an HEB on the way home. Texans freak the f*CK out with any kind of weather, and I should’ve nixed the visit upon seeing the parking lot, but I still hadn’t put two and two together about mass hysteria. Once inside, I was shocked at the stupid. So many people. So many crazy people cleaning shelves out, hoarding food at an apocalyptic scale and all without masks. I think we were the only shoppers with masks on besides the employees. It’s insane out there.

  14. Cait says:

    I have breast cancer and was mask shamed here in New Orleans when I dropped off my daughter at karate last week. My husband (who works in public health) and I (I’m even a trial participant for Novavax), as well as our three kids, have made the choice to continue to wear masks indoors to help mitigate risk.

    I hope the lady who thought she was dunking on me felt AMAZING when I arched a brow and told her calmly, “How nice for you. I have cancer.”

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      I’m so sorry. I don’t understand this new world at all because I was under the impression most of my adult life that most people are generally decent. I was so full of shit until 2016 lol. People are disgusting, absolutely horrid and shockingly selfish and unsympathetic. You will beat this CAIT. Kick it in its ass.

    • Ripley says:

      I’m so sorry. We’re here in New Orleans too and we were doing so well with the masking, I just don’t get this 180* once they dropped the mandate. I keep telling my 8 year old that we’re doing it for others and for his younger brother who can’t get the vaccination yet due to age. We’re trying to teach him that while his mask helps him, it’s actually helping others more, but it’s a lesson we’re finding we’re having to teach and discuss daily. Thinking all good thoughts for your battle. You’ve got this. As @Mabs A’Mabbin said more eloquently than I could, “Kick it in the ass.”

      • cb-forever says:

        I have breast cancer too and have been amazed at how many people STILL don’t give a f#$k here in NC. As for protecting the youngest children who can’t get vaccinated… I am SHOCKED at how many people I see with their tiny kids UNMASKED hanging out in coffee shops, restaurants, shopping at grocery stores. I wear a mask EVERYwhere. I do go to some restaurants that feel safe but even there, I wear my mask unless I am actually eating or drinking. I have not gotten COVID and I do not want to. My son wears a mask to school on his own volition (8th grade) and my college age son also still wears a mask much of the time in classes and other crowded places. None of us “have” to. We just want to keep this $hitty virus from spreading!! I can’t envision a time where I won’t wear a mask to the store. Just not likely. I’ll be masking forever now, I think.