What to know about COVID outbreaks at big events and concerts

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — With the national conversation trending towards bringing back masks, the FOX31 Problem Solvers are digging into the latest COVID data in Colorado with a close eye on outbreaks at recent big events.

Since June, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment charted 115 individual outbreaks, Five outbreaks were traced to a fair, festival or temporary mobile event.

“I’m less worried about things like ring tosses or people using the same tables at picnic grounds than I am about people just being near each other and inhaling each other’s air,” said Delphine Farmer, associate chemistry professor at Colorado State University.

Farmer’s expertise is understanding what is in the air we breathe, indoors and out.

“With outdoor environments, we’re just beginning to learn that these new variants can be more easily transmittable, that they can still be dangerous environments if you are too close to people who have it,” Farmer said. 

Country Jam in June had the third highest outbreak total of this summer’s outbreaks with 23 cases. Experts say the location of the music festival, Mesa County — where vaccination rates are under 50% — stands out.

“I think because of the uptick in the cases and hospitalizations and ICU stays, I think we are back to the concern that some of these large gatherings likely represent super spreader events among the unvaccinated,” director of infection prevention at Medical Center or Aurora Dr. James Neid said. 

“We know the delta variant is much more transmissible. It spreads a lot easier. We also know that in general, outdoor events and outdoor interactions are a much lower risk setting in transmission, ” said Glen Mays, a doctorate chair of the Department of Health Systems, Management and Policy at the Colorado School of Public Health on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. “We just need to continue to closely monitor the data to see if we do see an uptick in transmission associated with these kinds of events.”

All things considered, Colorado is still holding up well in its COVID metrics among U.S. states.

FOX31’s Data Desk has a national comparison:

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Most Read

Top Stories