It’s called Lollapalooza and not Coronapalooza. But there are concerns that the four-day music festival in Chicago’s Grant Park will turn out to be a Covid-19 coronavirus superspreader event.
Why? Umm, let’s see. Lollapalooza is expected to bring together 110,000 people a day from different towns and cities in the middle of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. And they won’t be collecting to do needlepoint in silence. Instead, they’ll be singing, hollering, saying the f-word (no, not ficus plant) and spraying respiratory droplets into the air like mist machines. Hmm, what else? Oh, the more contagious Delta variant of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is currently spreading throughout the U.S. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?
To keep the virus from spreading, perhaps everyone could maintain some social distancing, that staying at least six feet or one Denzel (because Denzel Washington is about six feet tall) apart from each other. Let’s see if they are doing so in the video accompanying the following CBS News tweet:
That’s not wild rice. Those are people squeezed together. Not a whole lot of social distancing going on there. Again, social distancing is staying six feet apart and not six inches apart from others.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 coronavirus is not exactly under control in the Chicago-area. Compared to the prior week, the number of reported Covid-19 coronavirus cases is up by 58%, hospitalizations up by 70%, and deaths up by 40% in Chicago, according to the City of Chicago Covid Dashboard.
Well, at least most of the people at Lollapalooza will be wearing face masks, right?
Hmmm, let’s take a look at some of the photos from the concert, such as the following:
OK, face bedazzling is not the same as face mask wearing, unless you use a gigantic rhinestone that can form fit over your nose and mouth and happens to be porous enough to breathe through easily.
Then there is this photo, which seemed to have more “Cake Me” signs than face masks:
Is “Cake Me” the same as “Avocado Toast Me?” Perhaps, but neither avocado toast nor a seven-layer chocolate cake in the face will protect you against the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Now Lollapalooza is taking some Covid-19 precautions as the following tweet indicated:
Requiring proof of Covid-19 vaccination in theory sounds good, but without a verifiable vaccine passport system, how can organizers really tell how legit those Covid-19 Vaccination Record Cards being flashed are? After all, people can, drum roll, please, lie. As I’ve reported for Forbes, people have been producing fake Covid-19 Vaccination Record Cards. Plus, the concert is still allowing in people who are unvaccinated. Having a negative Covid-19 test prior to the concert is no guarantee that a person won’t become infectious during the concert, even if the negative test was withing 72 hours of the concert.
Moreover, even if you are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the vaccines are not like concrete full body condoms. While the vaccines offer good protection, the protection is not 100% protection. You can still get infected with the virus. You can still get sick, albeit your chances are lower. You can still spread the virus to others.
Looks like the concert organizers aren’t exactly saying that allapalooza is completely safe either:
If you are the Covid-19 coronavirus and miss Lollapalooza, don’t fret or make crying motions with your spikes. There’s always the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2021 which is set to begin next week, August 6 at Sturgis, South Dakota and continue through August 15. The Sturgis Rally website says, “We’re spreading out wings.” With over 500,000 people expected, that may not be the only thing that’s spreading. As I covered for Forbes last September, one study estimated that the 2020 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally caused over 260,000 new Covid-19 coronavirus cases. While you shouldn’t bank on that specific number since that study had a number of limitations, it wouldn’t surprising if last year’s Rally helped contribute to the SARS-CoV2 surges seen last Summer.
Recall that here’s what the Rally looked like last year:
While there are beards in this photo, there aren’t a whole lot of face masks being worn.
The lineup of big Summer gatherings won’t end with Sturgis. The following Twitter mentions the upcoming Gathering of the Juggalos and Central Park Homecoming Concert:
Then there’s Rocklahoma, a three-day hard rock music festival with camping in Pryor, Oklahoma from September 3 to September 5:
When the U.S. is trying to keep the Covid-19 coronavirus from surging further, when public health officials are recommending face mask wearing indoors in public for everyone in many places, is it a really a good idea to hold such large gatherings? These gatherings will bring thousands of people from potentially around the country to mix with each other before returning back to their home towns and cities. And all of this while Delta variant is getting more and more of a foothold or perhaps a spikehold in this country. Could such events give new meaning to the phrase “flying Delta?”