Over half of a woman’s 50 party guests tested positive for the Chinese coronavirus following the celebration on March 5 in Westport, Connecticut.
Health experts are calling the 40th birthday bash a suspected coronavirus “super-spreading event” following the gathering that took place at a home in the area, according to Fox News.
Prior to the celebration, there were no known cases of the disease in Connecticut.
“The Westport soirée — Party Zero in southwestern Connecticut and beyond — is a story of how, in the Gilded Age of money, social connectedness and air travel, a pandemic has spread at lightning speed,” according to the New York Times.
The report continued:
The partygoers — more than half of whom are now infected — left that evening for Johannesburg, New York City and other parts of Connecticut and the United States, all seeding infections on the way. Westport, a town of 28,000 on the Long Island Sound, did not have a single known case of the coronavirus on the day of the party. It had 85 on Monday, up more than 40-fold in 11 days.
William Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard, said the party may be an example of how fast and how far the virus can spread.
Some of the early cases in Northern Italy were associated with small towns, and people thought, “Oh, it’s just in the small towns.” But then you suddenly find cases emerging from Milan Fashion Week and spreading internationally. Everywhere you think the virus is, it’s ahead of you.
Connecticut officials have since implemented several measures to hopefully keep the virus from spreading further.
“It’s no use pointing fingers,” guest Cheryl Chutter told the New York Times after her test came back positive.
“It’s not like you’re going to lock that one person up when there are millions of people in the world who have it. We’re so past that,” she commented.
In an update on Twitter Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Ned Lamont announced that 203 more residents had contracted the disease, which brought the state’s total to 618:
🆕UPDATE: Since yesterday, an additional 203 Connecticut residents tested positive for #COVID19, bringing the total to 618.
71 people are hospitalized and there have been 12 fatalities.
To date, more than 5,300 tests have been conducted statewide.
— Governor Ned Lamont (@GovNedLamont) March 24, 2020
“The more people stay home, especially people over the age of 70 stay home, we can flatten the curve, allow our healthcare system to stay ahead of the surge,” Lamont said in a video shared on his profile.
“I promise you every day the state of Connecticut is doing what we can to keep you and your families safe,” he concluded.