Maine Wedding Leads to Over 140 Cases of Coronavirus
While cases of Coronavirus in the United States continues to dwindle slowly, especially in the Northeast, the virus itself has maintained its strength. Sometimes, the lack of numbers can lead to a sense of false security, which most people are guilty of. It creates the mindset that more than likely, “I won’t get the virus” or “It won’t affect me.” This false mindset is the leading cause in a Coronavirus outbreak that led to 147 people becoming infected with the virus and three deaths.
The indoor wedding took place on August 7th in Millinocket, Maine. While 147 people have contracted the virus, only 62 guests physically attended the wedding. However, according to Healthline, all guests “mingled, danced, and dined for hours” with very few guests wearing masks or practicing social distancing.
Maine does have a very low transmission rate, however, the governor’s executive order limits gatherings to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
In response to the outbreak, the venue of the reception, Big Moose Inn, has been delivered a health hazard citation. As a defense, Big Moose Inn staff say they misinterpreted the state’s rule on social distancing: “We understood there could be no more than 50 persons in our largest room. We did make an error in the interpretation of that rule. Our interpretation was that we could take a wedding party of more than 50 persons, and split them between two rooms as long as it didn’t exceed our total capacity or a specific room capacity.
The 147 cases is way up from the initial 53 cases at the end of August. Many of these cases are through secondary or tertiary contact, meaning that there could be a lot more asymptomatic cases than this already high number. Contact tracers have been able to discover the virus had been spread hundreds of miles away from the initial reception site, showcasing how quickly and wide-spread the transmission of this virus can be.
Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention states how “this demonstrates how aggressive and opportunistic this virus is and how it can move quickly from one community to another, even if those communities are miles apart, separated by multiple counties in between.”
Many of the cases have been attributed to the York County Jail as a staffer at the jail attended the wedding. This has led to an outbreak among staffers, their family members, as well as inmates, adding 72 cases to the initial number.
Another outbreak in relation to the wedding occurred at a nursing home, Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Living Center, which is home to 19 infections after a staff member contracted the virus from someone who was in close contact with the wedding guests.
All three deaths weren’t even directly attending the wedding, they were simply connected to the attendees.
This is not the first coronavirus wedding that has caused either mass infection or death. Back in June, a groom in India died two days after his wedding and infected 80 others with the coronavirus. The man had been sick before the wedding and not tested for the virus, yet the wedding continued on.
We have begun to build up a sense of false security that because this virus has not affected us, we won’t be affected. But that is simply not the case. As the world continues to reopen and we begin to return to some weird form of normalcy, it is necessary to remember that COVID-19 is still a threat to us all, whether we choose to attend a wedding or we choose to stay put in our homes.