A look at COVID-19 spread at large events | KSTP.com

A look at COVID-19 spread at large events

A look at COVID-19 spread at large events Photo: KSTP/File.

Ben Henry
Updated: August 26, 2021 10:24 PM
Created: August 26, 2021 08:35 PM

As fairs and festivals make their comeback after pandemic-related cancellations in 2020, they may look and feel different than before.

But the one thing they all have in common: people.

Despite the festivities returning, we're still in the midst of the pandemic – and the delta variant is growing stronger and spreading quickly as the summer draws to a close.

The fate of the Minnesota State Fair was set in stone mere weeks before it began. As it stands now, despite vaccination status, the fair is strongly encouraging people to wear masks inside buildings and outdoors while in crowded areas.

While the number of COVID-19 cases connected to the fair won't be available for weeks after its conclusion, other events that have wrapped up within the last month have reported their connected cases:

  • Wisconsin State Fair (according to Wisconsin Department of Health)
    • 841,000 people attended,
    • 46 confirmed COVID-19 cases (8 probable cases) connected to event,
    • No COVID-19 restrictions,
    • Dates: 8/5 – 8/15.
  • Motorcycle Rally Sturgis (according to South Dakota Department of Health)
    • 525,768 people attended,
    • 39 confirmed COVID-19 cases connected to event,
    • Dates: 8/5 – 8/15.
  • Lollapalooza (according to the Associated Press)
    • 325,000 people attended (estimated),
    • 203 confirmed COVID-19 cases connected to event,
    • Attendees had to show proof of vaccination or negative test,
    • Dates: 7/29 – 8/1.

Typically, the Minnesota State Fair draws many more people than any of those three events. The last fair in 2019 set a record attendance of 2,126,551 guests.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS asked the Minnesota Department of Health about its concerns with the size and safety of the fair. Representatives said MDH has done all it can to put forth the best information possible to keep people safe.

It also added that getting vaccinated – specifically, fully vaccinated – is the best defense against the virus. Masking and avoiding large crowds, MDH added, is important, too.


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