Did Boston Meeting Lead to 20,000 Infections?

Did tens of thousands of corona infections assume a single event with a few hundred participants? US researchers assume so. The Boston incident plays a central role in one study.

During the corona pandemic, virologists have repeatedly pointed out the importance of so-called “superspreader” events. These are events in which a large number of people become infected and which lead to a large number of secondary cases. US researchers now claim to have found a particularly violent incident of this type. They assume that up to 20,000 infections can be traced back to him alone.

We are talking about a specialist congress in Boston, Massachusetts. At the end of February, at the very beginning of the pandemic, 200 people from all over the world gathered in the east coast metropolis to exchange ideas on the subject of biotech. At that time nobody wore a mask, there were no distance rules. The United States, like most regions of the world, was just beginning to realize that there was a great danger ahead.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University have so far directly linked 90 positive cases to Congress. These are participants, service providers as well as contact persons. But the scientists assume that this is only a small part and that the congress could have played an immensely important role in the infection process in the region.

Researchers analyzed hundreds of gene samples

Their assumptions are based on the analysis of hundreds of gene samples of the virus that they took from residents in and around the city. Of the total of 772 samples, around 80 cases from abroad or elsewhere in the United States were imported into the Boston region – and hundreds of cases could be linked to other large outbreaks such as those at the conference. The researchers therefore conclude that a total of an estimated 20,000 infections could be attributed to the conference.

“Unfortunately, many factors made the conference a perfect storm,” said researcher Bronwyn MacInnis to CNN, highlighting the timing of the conference: “At that time, we were just beginning to understand the immediate threat of Covid-19 at home – if the meeting had been a week later, it would probably have been canceled. ” One reason for the possibly high number of cases in connection with the event is that the participants came from all over the world and could later have unknowingly dragged the infection back home with them.


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