A Bad Bunny concert that took place about three weeks ago in the singer’s native Puerto Rico has been called a super-spreader event after it contributed to a major surge in the island’s COVID-19 cases.
The New York Times reports that Puerto Rico faced a 4,600% (!) increase in cases in the last few weeks, despite about three-quarters of its population having received two vaccine doses. Approximately 2,000 people reported falling ill after the Bad Bunny concert, which boasted a crowd of 60,000. While there is no agreed-upon definition of a super-spreader event, the term has been used been used for everything from a few dozen transmissions to the hundreds or thousands.
Puerto Rico, a US territory, had been celebrating one of the most successful vaccination efforts in the country. But as the Bad Bunny concert coincided with many people’s holiday parties and travel plans, the number of cases per 100,000 residents jumped from three to 225 in just three weeks. Since the start of the pandemic, one-third of all coronavirus cases recorded by the island have occurred in just the past month.
Though early research has indicated that the Omicron variant tends to be comparatively less severe, its high level of contagiousness doesn’t bode well for hospitals in Puerto Rico, whose healthcare system is already strained. In response, a highly-anticipated celebration commemorating the 500th anniversary of San Juan has been cancelled, and ABC’s “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,” which was meant to be broadcast from the island, wa changed to a virtual event.
Meanwhile, back on the mainland, various larger-scale live music events — such as LCD Soundsystem’s highly-anticipated Brooklyn residency and Phish’s New Year’s Eve run at Madison Square Garden — were either cut short or cancelled.