- A swingers convention in New Orleans has been described by officials as a "superspreader" event after 41 attendees fell sick with the coronavirus.
- The three-day "Naughty in N'awlins" event, which usually welcomes around 2,000 swingers, was scaled-down to 250 people this year.
- The convention organizer, Bob Hannaford, wrote in a blog post last week that he "wouldn't do it again if I knew then what I know now."
- Hannaford also wrote that his team went to "extraordinary measures" to try to ensure the safety of attendees, including implementing social distancing rules and requiring the use of face masks.
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A New Orleans swingers convention was declared a "superspreader event" after 41 people were infected with COVID-19, officials say.
About 250 swingers attended the three-day "Naughty in N'awlins" swinger convention in mid-November, even though Louisiana cases were rising at the time.
One of the infected guests was in serious condition and had to be hospitalized.
In a blog post last week, event organizer Bob Hannaford said he "wouldn't do it again if I knew then what I know now."
"If I could go back in time, I would not produce this event again," Hannaford wrote, according to the blog post. "It weighs on me and it will continue to weigh on me until everyone is 100% better."
The event, which saw around 2,000 people attended in 2019, had already been scaled-down compared to previous years.
Hannaford wrote that his team went to "extraordinary measures" to ensure attendees' safety.
Safety precautions included implementing a touchless check-in process, requiring temperature checks, and social distancing. Attendees were also required to wear face coverings at all times and had to wear color-coded wristbands based on whether they had antibodies or not.
Hannaford said that 50% of attendees tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, suggesting they'd already had it.
He also insisted that there were no dance floors at the event.
"People bounced and moved by their tables, and even though people were more spread out, I saw a lot more eye contact and positive acknowledgment of short flirts and teases," Hannaford said, according to his blog post.
The organizer admitted that while most rules were kept on the first two days of the convention, people became complacent on the last day.
"When we contacted the people that were positive, we asked them several questions to find more potential positive cases and try to find out where the biggest risks took place," Hannaford said, according to the Guardian.
"In almost every case, they admitted to us that they were super diligent on the first two days (Wed and Thurs) and then they relaxed a little on Friday and then they said 'F— it, it's our last day' and many admitted that their lax effort on that final day is probably why they ended up positive," he added.
A spokesperson for New Orleans Mayor, LaToya Cantrell, said during a news conference earlier this week: "When we ask people to maintain social distance when we ask people to obey the public health guidelines, there's a reason for that. And when those guidelines are not adhered to, you see a spike in infections. You see a superspreader event."
The convention went ahead as New Orleans implemented in Phase 3.3 reopening plan, which allowed for indoor gatherings of up to 100 masked people.
Those wanting to hold special events or live entertainment also had to obtain permits. Hannaford wrote in his blog post that he had spoken to city officials before putting on the convention.
Lousiana has reported almost 245,000 cases and more than 6,500 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to a tracker by Johns Hopkins University.
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