As the virus rages in southern and western America, politicians are joining health officials in sounding the alarm about house parties as potential super-spreaders, even as they confront the reality they hold few tools to prevent them from happening.
Arizona, Florida, Nevada and South Carolina all reported record-high numbers of new daily Covid-19 cases again Saturday.
Multiple outbreaks in recent weeks have been traced to individual house parties, and mayor of Pinecrest, Florida, Joseph Corradino, warned residents this week that “private house parties” are the area’s most dangerous spreaders of the virus.
But unlike bars, lawmakers are unable to simply shut down house parties, and stay-at-home orders (which all states have rolled back) can only do so much in a country that by-and-large would prevent the government from enforcing restrictions on private property.
In a statement, Corradino acknowledged the only thing he could to prevent outbreaks resulting from house parties was to “appeal to the common sense and decency of our citizens” even though he said he “understands the fatigue of this situation.”
“A lot of what we’re seeing I think with the younger people if they’re partying at somebody’s house or something is they’re probably not wearing masks, let’s just be honest,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.
Young people are now accounting for a much larger number of coronavirus infections across the United States While health officials say young people are at far less risk of developing severe symptoms from coronavirus, they pose a major problem because they can unknowingly spread the virus to the elderly, who die at much higher rates.
In March, the New York Times reported about a house party in Westport, Connecticut, that epidemiologists say may have been at the center of the state’s initial Covid outbreak.
The Coronavirus Surge in Florida, Arizona, Texas Isn’t the Same as New York’s Crisis (Wall Street Journal)
Party Zero: How a Soirée in Connecticut Became a ‘Super Spreader’ (New York Times)