Study links 50K Louisiana coronavirus cases to 2020 Mardi Gras
A new study released on Monday shows that last year’s Mardi Gras was a superspreader event that contributed to 50,000 coronavirus cases in Louisiana.
The pre-print study looked at the genetic diversity of the coronavirus cases in Louisiana after the Mardi Gras event and found that the genetic makeup of the virus in the cases was very similar. The similarities show that the cases stemmed from the Mardi Gras event.
The study has not been peer-reviewed yet and was done in collaboration with over a dozen researchers from different universities.
Although the study did find there were some coronavirus cases in Louisiana before the event, it found that the cases could not have spiked as they did in the state without the superspreader event of Mardi Gras.
The Mardi Gras event occurred in February of last year right before the country began locking down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
At Mardi Gras, people were not wearing protective face coverings and were crowded into bars and restaurants to celebrate.
“In March, I think New Orleans had the sharpest increase of patients anywhere in the world,” Mark Zeller, one of the authors of the study, told Nola.com. “It’s just very unfortunate timing. If Mardi Gras would have been two, three weeks earlier, maybe it wouldn’t have resulted in this many cases.”
The spread of the virus from the event was mostly contained in the South, as restrictions across the country went into place shortly after the event, the study says.
The full effect of the outbreak from the event is hard to determine due to how unprepared and unorganized the country was in testing and tracking cases at the beginning of the pandemic.
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