How can I avoid one of those “superspreader” events I keep hearing about?

Infection and Spread Staying Safe

A: Avoid sharing indoor air with anyone outside your household, ESPECIALLY in large groups.

Even a medium-sized gathering, like an extended family trip to a cabin, can be a recipe for aerosol transmission of COVID-19 with people spending a long time together in poor ventilation.

A superspreader event is one in which many people are infected with COVID-19 at the same gathering. New outbreaks are being driven by a small number of people infecting many others through these types of events.

A major factor in superspreading is AEROSOLS – the tiny infected particles floating in the air that can travel **beyond** 6 feet, especially indoors. Aerosols play a big role in superspreading events because they can hang around in the air and easily travel throughout a shared room, sort of like that too-strong air freshener that makes its way across your whole house!

You might be thinking, “Okay, but I am not heading to any super-sized events anytime soon – all my concerts were canceled. How does this affect me?” BUT: superspreader events are NOT all just at giant indoor venues with tons of people. The infographic linked below lists many examples: parties, weddings, family gatherings, nursing homes, and more.

A good example of the sneaky nature of superspreading events comes to us from a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) investigating an outbreak at a family gathering over the summer. While you can read more at the link below, here are the basics:

🏠 5 households gathered in a 5-bedroom house for 8-25 days

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 14 family members stayed overnight in the same house

😷 12 out of 14 guests eventually experienced symptoms and were diagnosed with COVID-19

🌤 6 additional guests visited the house, but stayed outdoors and physically distanced. NONE of those 6 guests developed symptoms or were diagnosed with COVID-19

So how can this case teach us to avoid superspreader events? The best way is to **stay away from large, indoor gatherings of multiple households.**

As the folks at stopsuperspread.com point out, ventilation and filtration measures can help, but as Ben Franklin would say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We can all work together to reduce superspreading and break the chain of transmission for our communities!

With love,
Those Nerdy Girls

Dear Pandemic Post on Superspreaders

Dear Pandemic Post on Aerosol Transmission

Full Stop Super Spread Infographic

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

More on avoiding indoor gatherings from The Atlantic

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