Infamous Maine coronavirus superspreader wedding highlights why large gatherings should be avoided, CDC says

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise against large gatherings as coronavirus cases rise throughout the country, and it recently highlighted a notorious superspreader wedding reception in Maine as one example. 

The reception, held in August in Millinocket, a rural Maine town, made headlines over the summer as the outbreak continued to unfold. Health officials’ investigation of the event revealed noncompliance with federally recommended mitigation guidelines. According to the CDC’s latest report, the reception led to at least 177 cases, seven hospitalizations and seven deaths, and the virus likely spread from the wedding to a nursing home and jail hundreds of miles away. Those who had serious outcomes and died from infections linked to the reception were not even attendees. 

This example “highlight[s] the importance of adhering to recommended mitigation measures even in communities where transmission rates are low,” the CDC said. “Community gatherings such as weddings, birthday parties, church events, and funerals have the potential to be [COVID-19] super-spreading events.”

The town in Maine was free of virus cases before the wedding reception, officials say.

The CDC report comes two weeks before Thanksgiving, and many leaders and health experts have cautioned against gathering around the table with nonhousehold family members this year. Others have suggested connecting virtually in an effort to reduce virus spread.

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Nevertheless, on Monday, Tripadvisor released the findings from its 2020 Thanksgiving Travel Index, claiming that more than half of Americans polled – 56% – intend to leave home for the holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of those, 75% said they plan to drive to their destination, and a slim 11% said they’re flying to their Thanksgiving celebrations.

Also, nearly 40% of Americans will likely attend a gathering with 10 people, according to a new national survey by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. And a third of them reportedly will not ask guests to wear masks.

“Persons should avoid large gatherings, practice physical distancing and hand hygiene, wear masks in public places, and stay home when ill to protect their family, friends, and the public,” the CDC concluded.

Fox News’ Janine Puhak and James Leggate contributed to this report.

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