At least 41 attendees of the Naughty in N'awlins swingers convention in New Orleans, Louisiana, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to event organizer Bob Hannaford.
The annual event, which usually brings 2,000 swingers, attracted some 250 attendees to the NOPSI Hotel this year. Like most cities across the US, New Orleans requires those in public to wear face masks to impede the spread of COVID-19.
"Over 50% of our attendees had the [COVID-19] antibodies and many of the rest got tested right before the event. We were feeling better and better about the risk potential as the event was about to kick off," the 54-year-old wrote in a blog post.
However, after the event's first day, a woman reported that she had tested positive for the contagious disease, while her husband, also in attendance, had tested negative. The couple received negative readings before the convention.
A total of five people had tested positive by the end of the first day, and at least 41 cases were logged by the end of the three-day event.
"If I could go back in time, I would not produce this event again," Hannaford admitted.
The organizer highlighted that there were "plenty of options to be unmasked," as city and state protocols allow people to remove their masks in public when eating or drinking.
Furthermore, many of those who tested positive for the novel coronavirus amid the event confessed they had become somewhat complacent and lackadaisical by the final day of the event.
He noted that "most of the 41 positive cases have mostly been asymptomatic or very mild cases." At the same time, it is not clear how many hotel employees, who had to interact with the attendees and their belongings, may have been infected.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health, a large number of outbreaks have been traced to bars, amounting to at least 508 traced COVID-19 cases.
"The reason I wouldn’t is that I know of two people who had a tougher time and they were suffering," Hannaford wrote. "One of them, a good friend of mine, was hospitalized in serious condition."
He noted in an update to the post that his friend had been released from the hospital "and looks like he will be fine."
"I wouldn’t do it again if I knew then what I know now. It weighs on me, and it will continue to weigh on me until everyone is 100% better," Hannaford said.