July 28, 2020

Couple who insisted on 100 wedding guests diagnosed with Covid-19

[The Independent]

‘This should be the poster child in why people should take responsibility,’ says infectious disease expert John Swartzberg

A couple who insisted on having 100 guests for their wedding have contracted coronavirus, alongside eight of their friends.

The wedding, that took place in early July, was held at the SS Peter and Paul’s Church, which overlooks Washington Square Park in San Francisco, California.

The couple also held a rehearsal dinner the night before the event, which more than 40 guests attended, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Guests had been told by the father of the bride that they had to enter through the church’s back door on the day of the service “due to concerns with the visibility to the public of the wedding,” according to the Daily Mail.

As the guests were arriving at the venue, an official from the city showed up and told them that it could not go ahead as planned, because the amount of guests involved violated an executive order in the state.

Earlier this month, California governor Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of indoor operations, including religious services, in order to stop the spread of Covid-19, as the state has seen record daily coronavirus totals over the last few weeks.

California has recorded more than 459,000 cases, as at least 8,451 people have died after contracting the virus since the pandemic began.

The couple were still able to have a wedding of some kind, but with a majority of the guests watching the service via video-conferencing service Zoom and a select few in the church.

The couple, alongside eight of their guests tested positive for the virus, after they started showing symptoms of Covid-19 within five days of the ceremony.

The guest list at the wedding included people travelling from all over the US, including Texas and Arizona, which have both struggled with the pandemic and recorded record cases in the last six weeks.

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The church helped organise the event, but Pastor Gael Sullivan told the Chronicle that the leadership had not agreed to more guests than was allowed by the governor’s order.

“I had said to them they had to comply with the minimum number for the service and when they showed up with more people, they agreed with sending them away,” he said.

The Archdiocese spokesman for the area, Mike Brown, added that none of the guests who contracted the virus have been in contact with the church to let them know about their positive test results.

UC Berkeley infectious disease expert John Swartzberg told the Chronicle that the event should act as a warning for people who think large gatherings will be safe.

“This is the perfect example of why public health officials have been trying to convince people of the problems with getting together in crowds,” he said.

“And I would be shocked if we didn’t see this consequence. This should be the poster child in why people should take responsibility.”

By James Crump

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