Photos of massive crowds at Lollapalooza spark fears of Covid superspreader event

‘That new band called Delta Variant is supposed to be pretty sick,’ one Twitter user commented on the thousands-strong audience

Nathan Place
New York
Friday 30 July 2021 16:46
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<p>Thousands of concertgoers gather at Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Chicago</p>

Thousands of concertgoers gather at Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Chicago

As the Lollapalooza continues this week, photos of huge, unmasked crowds are spurring fears that the music festival could become a Covid-19 superspreader event.

The concerts kicked off in Chicago’s Grant Park on Thursday, and are scheduled to continue until Sunday. About 100,000 people are expected to attend each day.

According to the event’s website, concertgoers are required to either show proof of vaccination, or, if they’re not vaccinated, present a negative Covid test from the past 72 hours. If it’s the latter, attendees are also required to wear masks.

In photos of the event, however, very few masks could be seen.

“That new band called Delta Variant is supposed to be pretty sick,” one Twitter user commented, sharing a photo of a thousands-strong audience.

“Remember the last Sturgis?” another wrote, referring to the 2020 motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, which researchers believe was a superspreader event. “Yep! This is going to get ugly.”

Chicago officials say the situation is under control. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said there are no plans to cancel the festival, and Dr Allison Arwady, head of the city’s public health department, says the current precautions are enough to keep it safe.

“The folks who put on Lollapalooza are taking this extremely seriously,” Dr Arwady told CBS Chicago. “Making sure that all of their backstage workers are vaccinated, and ensuring that the ticket takers are tested, and [they] have really gone, I think, above and beyond and particularly where you compare this to a lot of other festivals around the country.”

On Twitter, however, many remain unconvinced.

“I live 40 miles away in the suburbs & that’s still too close for me!” one user wrote regarding the festival. “How many traveled & will return home to spread this dangerous variant? Leadership failed with this decision.”

“This is why we will NEVER be out of this pandemic,” another wrote.

On the first day of the festival, Lollapalooza said that the vast majority of attendees had shown proof of vaccination.

“Great job, Lollapalooza fans!” the venue tweeted on Thursday. “More than 90% of you showed us your proof of vaccination today!”

Meanwhile, an official Lollapalooza sign in Grant Park welcomed concertgoers with an unsettling message.

“An inherent risk of exposure to Covid-19 exists in any public space where people are present,” the sign said. “By attending Lollapalooza, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”

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