A swingers convention in New Orleans turned into a coronavirus superspreader event after at least 41 attendees tested positive for the virus, according to an organizer.
In a blog post, Naughty Events owner Bob Hannaford wrote that November’s five-day Naughty in N’awlins revelry at first seemed like a safe success thanks to a plethora of pandemic precautions.
“We went to extraordinary measures for check-in and instituted a touchless process with required temperature checks, social distancing in line, and sanitizing upon check-in,” wrote Hannaford of the Big Easy bash, which kicked off Nov. 10.
“We issued wristbands in one color to indicate who had antibodies and therefore was not contagious. We issued a second color to those that showed us a very recent negative COVID-19 test,” he continued. “The wristbands even had each person’s date of their test circled.”
Hannaford even recalled going out to dinner with friends to celebrate the climax of the X-rated extravaganza — which turned out to be premature.
“The next day the texts started. We had our first positive case,” he wrote. “It was a wife who tested positive on Monday night after our event. Her husband tested negative. Both were tested prior to coming to the event.”
Over the following days, dozens of similar e-mails flooded in, accumulating to 41 out of the 300 attendees, wrote Hannaford in the post, which was first reported Tuesday by local outlets including alternative Crescent City weekly Gambit.
“Most would consider that a positivity rate of 13%, but there’s more to a positivity rate,” wrote Hannaford. “You see, we have no idea how many people got tested after our event, nor if anyone tested positive and didn’t tell us. There could also be people that are positive, but without symptoms, so they never got tested.”
One attendee, described by Hannaford as “a good friend” was hospitalized in serious condition, but has since been released.
Most other afflicted attendees of which Hannaford was aware either experienced minor symptoms or were asymptomatic, he wrote.
“Would I do it all over again?” mused Hannaford, noting that at the time the event began New Orleans had in place its least restrictive package of restrictions.
“If I could go back in time, I would not produce this event again,” he wrote. “I wouldn’t do it again if I knew then, what I know now. It weighs on me and it will continue to weigh on me until everyone is 100% better.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Louisiana accounted for 232,414 of the United States’ 13,580,941 positive coronavirus diagnoses, and 6,420 of its 268,880 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
New Orleans city officials have already scrapped plans for 2021’s Mardi Gras parades with the pandemic still going strong.