The cluster of coronavirus infections, which emerged from the Big Moose Inn near Milinocket on August 7, continues to grow in Maine, state health officials said after guests dropped social distancing and disguise guidelines. People unrelated to the party are now dead, including six residents of the Maplecrest Rehabilitation and Life Center in Madison, CDC Maine Director Niraw Shah said in a news briefing Tuesday.
Last month, government officials issued a quote about an “imminent health hazard”
The Milinoket wedding is not the only celebration of the rules, with a growing number of cases, as trackers and public health officials across the country continue to track infections stemming from summer gatherings of “super-distributors”, including a motorcycle in Milan and choral practice in Washington.
Non-attendance exposure can multiply exponentially, especially if attendees live or work in communities where social distancing and wearing masks are not necessary, said Michael Small, a professor at the University of Western Australia who has studied dissemination events.
“These super-expanders can be bad without being tied up,” Small told The Washington Post.
Earlier this year, a leadership conference for biotech company Biogen in Boston made headlines when infections were initially tracked among attendees that raged in several states. Months later, researchers sequenced the virus’s genetic defects, linking the outbreak to homeless infections in Boston.
The epidemic among company executives, which has led to homeless infections, is a reminder of how interconnected social networks can be, leading to the virus’s further spread, said Thomas Tsai, an assistant professor at Chan’s Harvard School of Public Health.
“You can’t just think about these individuals or even clusters alone. “They’re like clusters of clusters,” Tsai said.
Even where communities may not seem intertwined, such as in a sparsely populated city of Maine, the coronavirus can strike.
“It’s a real warning story that even in a relatively rural area of Maine, there was still fuel for the fire,” Tsai said.
Between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of infected people are responsible for 80 per cent of the spread of the coronavirus, said Maria Van Kerhove, technical director of the World Health Organization’s Emergency Health Program, at a briefing Thursday.
Maine health officials have continued to monitor several outbreaks and investigate whether some clusters are linked, Shah said.
“The virus favors collection,” Shah said. “It makes no distinction between happy events, such as a wedding celebration, or a sad farewell, such as a funeral. It’s everywhere. “
Shah said the spread of the virus beyond those who attended the wedding, killing people unrelated to the gathering, was an indication of “how virulent the disease can be and how far-reaching the consequences can be.”
Although Shah noted the low levels of hospitalization in the state, he said the spread of the virus in the state was alarming everywhere. He said residents should not accept that the virus has not reached their community, as it is probably already there.
“I’m worried about where we are,” Shah said. “The Maine CDC is concerned about where we are and I ask everyone else to share that concern.”
The state agency confirmed to The Post that the pastor who celebrated the wedding, Todd Bell, preached at the Golgotha Baptist Church in Sanford, which has 10 cases. Bell criticized the restrictions on the coronavirus, local media reported. Could not comment.
“What he’s basically telling the state of Maine is that the rules don’t apply to us,” Bangor resident Cathy Day told Bell.
The Milinoket-born woman told The Post that she did not believe that anyone who attended the wedding intended to cause the chaos that followed the celebration. But, Day said, infections are preventable. As someone who has learned to keep track of contacts, Day said he wants a map to show the spread of the virus from that event in her state.
“I think it would be a very interesting image for people to be able to understand that when you spread it to a person, unless that person is isolated, they have the potential to do something exactly like what happened at that outbreak.” said Day. “Just keep going and go.”