2021-04-18 BC

Superspreader Events

People have been talking about a big party on the beach Friday evening. I saw people talking about it, and sort of rolled my eyes because all the knowledgeable people I follow say that beach-shaming is the last thing we should do: being outside, in the sun, where there is usually a breeze, is one of the safest places to be.

That was before I heard about the Saskatchewan superspreader outdoors party. There are two questions to be asked here:

  1. Why, when there was very low transmission at every other outdoor event — including all the BLM protests — was there spread at the SK event?
  2. Could we have superspreading at a beach party?

For the first question, I have the following suppositions:

  • While I don’t know if the party was in the daytime or at night, the photos the article writers chose for their illustrations were nighttime party photos. UV kills viruses, and warmer temperatures dry out droplets faster. Also, wind tends to die down at night, so the fog of droplets would get not get dispersed as well.
  • I understand that the SK party drew people from quite a large area, so it might be that some of the transmission happened during carpooling.
  • There was alcohol involved, and alcohol is a well-known risk factor for spreading COVID.
  • It seems like a reasonable guess that a party of young, socially starved people of the attractive genders might, just might have snuck off into the woods and engaged in some physical contact inside the 2m limit.

For the second question:

  • One of the videos I saw was before sunset, which is good. Another video was at night, which is bad. At 9PM on 16 April, it was about 15 degrees (bad) but had a 9 kph breeze (good).
  • The videos I saw were from the side, which tends to compress the depth and make it look more crowded than it really is.
  • People probably walked, took EVOs, or took the bus for relatively short distances instead being crammed in a shared car for hours.
  • Alcohol is not allowed in parks. While I would not be surprised if there was some beer there, it wouldn’t have been wild keggers. I would expect the substance of choice would be cannabis, which I understand to have a calming effect and not an agitating effect.
  • While it is possible that a bunch of young, socially deprived people might have wanted to sneak off behind the dunes at Kits Beach and get physical, there are not, in fact, any dunes to sneak off behind.

The clip during the day, to be honest, looked totally fine to me. It wasn’t even clear to me (because of the side-angle) that people were too close.

The night dancing looked scarier, but there was some wind. I think (and hope) that would keep the danger down a bit.

Vaccine Clinics

Everyone over 18 is now being invited to register online. Before you get excited, note that that’s to register, not to book.

Hospitalizations

Ontario is still getting slammed. Yesterday, Ontario asked BC to send health care workers to help. BC said, basically, “uh, sorry, we got problems of our own”. Today, Trudeau says that they are sending some federal workers; he’s also working with some of the Atlantic provinces to get them to send workers.

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