Once-Named ‘Herd Immunity Fest’ Happened But Masks + Social Distancing Didn’t
The controversial Herd Immunity Fest in Ringle, Wisconsin, which later changed it's name to Mini Fest, took place over the July 17-19 weekend, featuring performances from Static-X, Dope, Saving Abel, the Thunderstruck AC/DC cover band and more. Despite urging social distancing measures at the sparsely populated outdoor venue, face masks were hardly worn as fans stood shoulder-to-shoulder.
Currently, only a handful of counties in Wisconsin have a face mask mandate and Ringle is not one of them. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has called on all Americans to wear a face mask to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, which has surged in the U.S. in recent weeks as the country has set a record for the highest number of reported cases in a day over the last seven days.
It was touted beforehand that the 10,000 capacity outdoor field was being limited to 2,000 attendees in an effort to naturally promote social distancing as well as limit risk. "We are only selling 20% of that so anyone has the choice and ability to social distance," said the Q & Z Expo Center, where the festival was held, on Facebook last month, remaining non committal to the idea of requiring social distancing, instead leaving it up to individualistic choice.
As seen in the posts below from Mini Fest, while the open grounds did lend itself to social distancing, even the sparsely attended weekend event found fans disregarding safety measures that have been preached worldwide for over four months, which is to maintain a physical distance of six feet apart and, generally, language had stated to wear a mask when the distance can not be maintained. In more recent weeks, mask wearing has become more strict than just wearing one when that six foot distance was not possible.
In this video clip below, Adelitas Way perform to a densely-packed group of fans.
Here, attendees stood shoulder-to-shoulder without face masks as Thunderstruck belted out a number of AC/DC classics.
Alternative rock band Sponge were among the weekend's featured acts and singer Vinnie Dombroski said that, at least for his band's set (which he estimated 750-1,000 fans watched), some social distancing practices were followed.
"It seems like social distancing has gotten to be the norm," Dombroski told the Oakland Press. "If it was a family, they stood together, but people were in rows and it seems like people are getting sort of programmed — 'Okay, I'm gonna stand six feet away from somebody else.' I was surprised to see that being so natural to folks. There was no mosh pit or trying to get up close to the band."
He couldn't speak to the rest of the fest, however, and stated, "I don't know what's going go on the other days, but from what I saw yesterday (people) were doing a good job. I was a little surprised, but my experience was a positive one, as risky as it sounded."
Dombroski also stated that the organizers' anti-virus precautions "were a little vague."
The Oakland Press also reported that organizers capped capacity at 2,500 attendees, not the originally 2,000 that had been touted earlier by the fest.
Below, a crowd of Mini Fest attendees squeeze together for a group photo and, in the background, are dozens of people not adhering to social distancing measures.
This slideshow of photos and videos again shows fans disregarded safety measures.
Mini Fest was originally conceived as the Herd Immunity Fest, nodding to the concept of herd immunity, which is a population's ability to resist the spread of a contagion, typically achieved through natural buildup of antibodies or the use of vaccines. The threshold is reached when a certain percentage of the population has built up an immunity to a given contagion, bringing the risk of community spread to nearly nil.
Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves outlined some basic math that underscored the problematic thinking in attaining herd immunity in relation to the coronavirus in a series of tweets, three of which are shown below.
If you need proof and case studies about the scientifically-validated efficacy of wearing a face mask, head here.
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