Looking at the Data, CPAC Might Put an End to the Super Spreader Mania

Official White House Photo by Tia Dufour

One day, the press is bound to find one of these unicorn events.

The term super spreader has been used so often everyone is aware now of its meaning. This is bordering on remarkable because, given all of the times it has been invoked in the media, it is always done in the predictive sense. Try to think back on all the times it is used to designate a known hotspot of infections. Sure, cases do exist, but it has been last fall since the last significant event, meaning the ratio of times promised to actual flare-ups is stark. 

Florida, in particular, has been a repeated location of promised yet fruitless hotspots, and the most recent has been the most disappointing — from the vantage of the press. When it was announced that the conservative political convention CPAC was moving to Florida there was no shortage of assurances this would become a COVID-19 hot zone. Well, it has been two weeks since the conference, so we should be seeing the after-effects. Except we do not.

The state experienced a week-over-week drop of more than -11.5%. The counties sporting the biggest drops were Palm Beach, Broward, and Orange County — where Orlando is located. There have been new case totals below 5,000 for five consecutive days; this follows a trend that has been seen specifically in Orange County, where cases have been in steady decline since the first week of January.

The numbers defy a certain level of desperation seen in the media with this state, and more specifically with the Governor, Ron DeSantis. For months now, there have been promises made repeatedly that the state was going to incur a massive flare-up in cases and death. Following the opening of the state, there have been moves pointed at as being assured causes of outbreaks — the theme parks reopening, the reactivation of the professional sports teams, the Super Bowl in the Tampa area, and then CPAC. 

In consistent fashion, these have all proven out to have not contributed to any spikes in infection rates, and this is positioned beside one other promise viral debacle. Beginning last summer, there has been talk that a mutated variant of COVID-19 was embedded in Florida, a more contagious strain. Yet that threat, coupled with the promised gathering risks have not led to increased numbers in Florida, to the chagrin of the journalists.

The State of Florida has been seeing consistent drops in cases since January, without any significant spikes. Also plunging are the deaths, which are at a steady decrease for a month, reaching lows seen last December. This should be regarded as good news and held up as cause for other states to study a successful method of reopening. Instead, we get the opposite from the press.

Despite being consistently wrong for months now, they persist with the promises of doom. The next is the arrival of Spring Break throngs, in this new era of variant threats. So the promise of doom and the ignoring of scientific data will continue.