An indoor bar opening event in rural Illinois in February was linked to 46 COVID-19 cases, a new study finds, highlighting the dangers indoor gatherings can pose in places like bars.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that the event was linked to 26 cases of COVID-19 in customers at the bar opening and three in bar staff, who later transmitted the virus to 17 other people who were not at the opening of the bar, what is known as “secondary cases”.
By showing the ripple effects an event can have, those secondary cases included 12 people in eight households with children, two on a school sports team and three in a nursing home, the study found. A school serving 650 students was closed as a result of the outbreak and a resident of a nursing home was hospitalized.
The results serve as a warning, as many states lift restrictions on bars and other businesses. Illinois recently delayed a new reopening step as hospitalizations increased, but bars and restaurants are currently open with capacity limits.
“These findings demonstrate that the openness of settings such as bars, where the use of masks and physical distancing are challenging, can increase the risk of community transmission,” the study states.
The CDC recommended a variety of measures to help reduce risk in settings such as bars, including reducing occupancy, separating people by at least six feet, improving ventilation, and an emphasis on outdoor seating. , which is significantly more secure.
The virus was introduced into the nursing home through a bar event attendant who worked in the nursing home and was asymptomatic, leading to the infection of an additional staff member and two residents. None of the four were vaccinated, despite the fact that all nursing home staff and residents had previously been offered the vaccine, according to the study, which appears to highlight the problem of vaccinating vaccinations.
The study also shows the importance of staying home when you are sick or when you are diagnosed with COVID-19. According to the study, an attendee at the bar event, who was asymptomatic, had been diagnosed with COVID-19 the day before the event. Four other people had symptoms while attending the event and were later diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the study.
The bar had a capacity of about 100 people, although it is unclear how many people attended the event, according to the study. Attendees did not keep their distance from each other, they had “inconsistent” mask use, and “no outside air flow.”
The level of spread of the coronavirus in rural Illinois county, which was not identified, doubled after the event, from about 41 cases per 100,000 people to about 86 cases per 100,000, the study found.
Indoor restaurants and bars have long been considered risk factors for the spread of COVID-19, since they bring people indoors together in close contact and it is difficult to wear a mask when eating and drinking.
“Similar gatherings that involve eating or drinking, such as restaurant dinners, weddings and nightclubs, have been associated with an increased risk of acquiring COVID-19 and have the potential to become widespread events,” the study found. .