In the weeks that followed Miami’s Winter Party Festival, which ended on March 10, several attendees have tested positive for COVID-19.
One of the deadliest things about coronavirus is that it has a long incubation period. A person can live symptom-free for up to two weeks after their initial infection, and they’re contagious the whole time. In light of all that, it has to be seen as ominous, to say the least, that several attendees of Miami’s annual weeklong Winter Party Festival have tested positive for the disease in the days after they got home.
“We know there are many places people could have been exposed before and after Winter Party as this virus has developed, but we wanted to make this information public as soon as possible,” stated Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, who organized the event. “The health and safety of anyone who participates in any Task Force event is of great importance to us.”
The weeklong festival, which kicked off in Miami on Wednesday, March 4, got in just under the wire before everything shut down after the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11. Since then, restrictions on gathering in large public crowds, cancellation of events, and efforts at social distancing and quarantine have kicked into overdrive — but for several attendees of the Winter Party Festival, all this came too late.
The specific number of attendees who were infected has not been disclosed by the National LGBTQ Task Force. According to festival organizers, none of the attendees experienced symptoms during the festival. The infections apparently occurred despite National LGBTQ Task Force’s best efforts to keep things sanitary, handing out 10,000 hand sanitizer bottles to attendees during the event, along with information guides about proper hygiene in order to avoid COVID-19 infection.
As part of their statement publicly announcing the infections, the National LGBTQ Task Force expressed frustration at the difficulty many Americans are experiencing in their attempts to get tested for coronavirus.
“We are monitoring the situation, but the real story here is that millions of people across the country would like to get tested, and the government has not done its job to make testing available,” Carey stated. “We hope that as people do get tested, they contact those with whom they have been in direct contact with and seek medical attention if necessary.”
Top Photo by Adi Adinayev, via Winter Party Festival/Facebook