Covid cases rose 139% after Coachella, which was outside without restrictions

This news isn’t that surprising. A week ago, The Cut reported that a lot of people who attended Coachella last month were saying on social media they have “Coachella cough.” They said it was from days of breathing the dusty, desert air, but The Cut thought it sounded like covid and honestly so did I. Turns out it was actually covid. Coachella covid cough. Surprise, surprise.

COVID-19 cases have jumped up 139% in the last two weeks in Riverside County, California, after hosting the 2022 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival for two weekends.

Riverside County, which is home to Indio, the location of the annual festival, has seen cases increase by 139% in the last 14 days for an average of 202 new cases a day, according to data compiled by The New York Times.

The weekly report from the Palm Springs Wastewater Treatment Plant also shows that the concentration of COVID-19 in wastewater samples have jumped up in the last week, going from an average of 360,433 copies to 617,875. The plant called it a “significant jump.” The majority of cases are caused by the omicron variant.

Hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 have remained low, with hospitalizations going up by just 3% in the last two weeks and an average of 0.7 people dying from the virus a day in Riverside.

Coachella attracted an estimated 750,000 people to the California desert for the festival, which took place over two weekends; April 15 to 17 and April 22 to 24. This was the first year back after the 2020 and 2021 festivals were canceled due to the pandemic.

The festival is held outside, but did not require proof of vaccination, testing or masks for attendees. And throughout the two weekends, many brands like Revolve and Spotify hold their own parties at homes and venues in the area.

On the Coachella site, the festival’s parent company, Goldenvoice, warned that attendees could contract COVID-19.

“There is an inherent and elevated risk of exposure to COVID-19 in any public place or place where people are present and there is no guarantee, express or implied, that those attending the festival will not be exposed to COVID-19,” they said.

PEOPLE has reached out to Goldenvoice for comment.

The Stagecoach country music festival brought around 80,000 people to Riverside again this past weekend, and had also dropped all COVID safety precautions.

[From People]

So were influencers trying to rebrand covid or were they really that clueless? Obviously the latter, but I keep almost typing covid instead of Coachella so they have a point. The California county where Coachella was held had a 139% case increase in the last two weeks. That’s 202 new cases per day. And that’s just where Coachella was held and doesn’t account for all the places the 750,000 festival attendees will return home to and where covid will presumably continue to spread. Ugh, great. And there was another festival in the area after Coachella ended, but it drew far fewer attendees.

I suppose, as Vanessa Hudgens would say, this was like, inevitable? (I actually really like her, but that video will always be the most ridiculous thing she’s done). No, but seriously, what did they think would happen? Even though it was open air, people pack in tightly at concerts and there were no precautions or vaccination/testing requirements whatsoever. And the private brand parties, which likely included indoor areas, probably didn’t help much either. I hope Coachella was worth it. It wouldn’t be for me. I was thinking about going to Gov Ball this year, and this news worried me, but I checked their website and they are requiring either vaccinations or a negative covid test, so they’re already ahead of Coachella in that regard.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Picture note by CB: No offense to Olivia Culpo, Dutch model Romee Strijd or actress Kathryn Newton! I just searched on “Coachella” in our photo agency,, and these pictures came up. Crowd photos credit Getty

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14 Responses to “Covid cases rose 139% after Coachella, which was outside without restrictions”

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  1. Martha says:

    Sadly I’m not surprised.

  2. Jan90067 says:

    When my sister keeps telling me she’s “not going to wear a mask, and she’s sick and tired of Covid”, I keep telling her it’s not tired of us yet! She keeps saying it’ll just be a cold (she’s vaxxed and double boosted). She is an educated woman (she was a lawyer for God’s sake…so *trained* in analyzing and logic), in her late 50s, yet she can be so stupid!

    How can anyone think, that being in a crowd, even outdoors, but packed like sardines, you won’t be breathing in aerosoles???

    I know what I’m done with…. I’m done with STUPID! Sheesh… I’m just so tired of the Stupid. “Ain’t no mask for Stupid”.

  3. Case says:

    I honestly think most people (unfortunately) don’t spend as much time thinking about COVID, how it spreads, and what its long-term consequences could be as they should, and many just think “hey, if it’s outside I’m safe!”

    That’s the problem and danger with institutions like the CDC making such tiered, complicated advisories. If the main headline is “you don’t need to wear a mask anymore,” a solid 85% will not look to see in what settings they still recommend it, who they recommend it for, etc.

  4. Donso says:

    I just finished with a case of Covid. I’m in my mid-60s, vaxxed and boosted. Caught it from my elderly (99) year old father-in-law. It really was exactly like a cold for me, my husband, my father-in-law and all the other residents of his nursing home. (In fact the nurses specifically said how much different it was from the earlier variants of Covid back on 2020). I had a few coughs, had to blow my nose for a few days – and that was it. My FIL coughed for a few days. My husband had a low fever for a few hours.

    Obviously not everyone has as easy a case as we all did – but enough people do – and now know lots of people who’ve had these cold-like cases, that it is hard to remain terrified. I’m glad now that I have some natural immunity to add to my vaxxed immunity.

    • Tourmaline says:

      Glad it was mild, but long COVID can and does happen in people with a mild initial course, and so can delayed acute effects such as pulmonary embolisms/strokes/other vascular effects.

      That is why I think it’s worth remaining vigilant about avoiding infection and multiple rounds of reinfection (especially during surges where level of circulating virus is extremely high—due to the extremely contagious nature of the virus, and the fact that current vaccines are not matching to the omicron strain as well as older strains) with this.

      What seems like a brief cold is really a novel virus that recently jumped species to humans, killed millions and disabled millions more.

      But I don’t necessarily blame the public for not taking that on board as messaging on this from the highest levels is awful. It’s an inconvenient truth so it’s just minimized and downplayed.

      • Jan90067 says:

        Data is also now showing cases of Long Covid in people who tested positive, but were asymptomatic. You can’t just stop being vigilant until we know a lot more about this NOVEL diseases (hence the name, “NOVEL COVID”).

    • Donso says:

      Well I feel great and am back to exercising. I know loads of people who have had it – mostly since omicron and all vaxxed and boosted. And nobody is having any problems. It’s not going away- even Fauci said we will all get it. So live healthy, take your vitamins and do what you can.

      • Kkat says:

        Well I got omi end of December and was ACTIVELY sick until end of February. Then another month to feel mostly normal again.
        I was double vaxxed and boosted.

        I know when I got it because I went out literally one time to the store to pick up a cake, I was wearing a n95 mask

        So yay for you you aren’t suffering extended problems yet.
        But fyi the clotting and microclotting is happening around 4 months after you have it, asymptomatic or not.

        All I think when I read what you wrote is moron. And you’re a huge part of the reason it can’t be contained.

        It’s not over, pandemics are never over after 2 years. According to the specialists we have a good 3-5 waves left. And we will be very very lucky if none of them are more virulent.
        But the odds are in favor of a more virulent variant.

        We will get more variants because morons are treating it like it’s just a cold.

      • Emma says:

        Dr. Fauci has encouraged people to continue to take wise precautions, and he also has emphasized that COVID should be taken seriously, and that it is still causing deaths around the world. Please think of others outside your immediate circle.

        Even now, 2.5 years into the pandemic, only 60% of Americans are estimated to have gotten COVID. It’s not like everyone should give up precautions because it’s inevitable, at all.

      • BrainFog 💉💉💉😷 says:

        Donso I am happy for you that your case was mild and you’re back on your feet but please do not suggest that this is the case for everyone or that this is a harmless disease. My BIL (young, strong, healthy, triple vacced) is unable to work since > 2 months now due to post acute covid. He can barely walk.
        Most people that I know were out for a week and said it was a horrible time and they never experienced anything like it before. All of them recent, all of them Omicron. Some took weeks to recover.
        Please be safe out there and do not stop taking this seriously. It’s not over, no matter how much you would like it to be.

  5. CL says:

    This was disheartening to read. I leave for L.A. soon for a Goldenvoice promoted festival (Cruel World Fest), and last year when I bought tix the website said everyone would have to show proof of vax or negative test. I just checked the site and it’s been updated to “may have to prove”. Ugh. I am double boosted, so I’ll plan on wearing a mask, and if I start to feel unsafe, I can bail from the concert early. Stupid Covid.

  6. Shai says:

    The county supervisors have been itching to get rid of the mandates because events like Coachella and Stagecoach bring in so much money to Indio. Stagecoach caters to a bunch of country music fans whom most don’t believe covid was real, Coachella is full of Vanessa Hudgens types who feel they’re young and can get over anything. However, the company told people they could get covid and people still went. I’m from Riverside County and this really was inevitable.

  7. Zoe79 says:

    I attended. I partially blame Goldenvoice for not requiring testing, masks, or other precautions for entry. All three days I went, my backpack nor Fanny pack were never checked by security either. Anyone could have brought anything in there. The organizers give zero concerns about anyone’s safety or health and were all about profit.

    We all have to learn how to live with this virus and make decisions for ourselves as adults. Sadly, most adults aren’t good at adulting or survival. I saw maybe 1 out of every 125 people masking. I even overheard a sniffly girl talking about how she couldn’t wear a mask because it would mess up her makeup.

    I didn’t get sick, but I also wore a commercial grade N-95 that I swapped out every day, sanitized my hands constantly, avoided touching anything in bathrooms, etc etc etc. I had a great time, and also did what I could to stay safe. It is possible to do both.

  8. Donso says:

    I’d have thought people would be glad to know that they’ll most likely come through omicron ok. It really is less virulent than alpha or delta ( which was still around in December of last year). Guess not. If you wear your N95s all the time you will probably escape it. Remember that Covid is zoonotic- which means it has an animal reserve – which means it cannot be eliminated. The only virus humans have eradicated was smallpox – one of the reasons is that it is not zoonotic- no animal reserve.