A mask-less wedding reception has led to a rash of new COVID-19 cases.
Last month, a wedding reception was held at Millinocket Lake in Millinocket, Maine. At this event, at which at least 60 guests were in attendance, considerations for the ongoing pandemic were below the bare minimum, with the only notable measure taken being temperature checks at the door. Neither face masks nor social distancing were required at this reception. Since that event, over 176 new cases of COVID-19 in Maine have been linked to guests or associates of guests at the party, as well as, as of writing, 7 deaths. The wedding has officially been dubbed a “superspreader” event.
At least 19 of the new cases have arisen within the Maplecrest Rehabilitation Center, a nursing home in Madison located approximately 100 miles away from the wedding venue. According to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the guests at the wedding lived in the same household as a Maplecrest staff member, which was how the virus managed to spread there. Cases have also begun to spring up at the York County Jail, located approximately 220 miles from the venue, due to a guest being an employee there.
Amanda Roy, daughter of Maplecrest resident and one of those sickened with the virus, Anna Littlejohn, condemned the bride and groom for allowing this outbreak to happen.
“I’m glad they got the greatest day of their life,” Roy told the Bangor Daily News. “But it made a nightmare and probably the worst days of some other people’s lives.”
The names of the bride and groom have not been divulged to the media, likely to prevent people from harassing them over the outbreak.
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah recently took the opportunity to stress the importance of viral countermeasures, especially face masks. Shah pointed out at a media briefing that neither employees nor prisoners at York County Jail have been wearing masks, which likely hastened infection.
“The one theme that runs through all of [these incidents] is mask wearing,” Shah said. “Face coverings both at a molecular level and now at a population level have been well associated at reducing the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19. Does it eliminate the likelihood? No, there’s no intervention in medical science that eliminates anything. But they greatly reduce the likelihood.”