It seems that there is one event that might be the source of the spread of the coronavirus. We are talking about 20.000 people in Boston. The event is a biotech conference, and 200 people attended it. It’s the source of a spread at the beginning of the pandemic.
According to researchers, “Ultimately, more than 90 cases were diagnosed in people associated with this conference or their contacts, raising suspicion that a superspreading event had occurred there.” Superspreading is when infected people cause the transmissions of an infectious disease.
The new study included analyzing the impact of the superspreading process in Boston and came up with direct evidence that this process changed the course of the epidemic.
How researchers conducted the analysis
Researchers from Harvard, MIT, and Cambridge made an analysis of the virus. They used samples and studied 72 complete genomes of the virus. They were about 80 entries of the virus into Boston, mostly from other places in the US and from Europe, and a lot of other cases from major outbreaks from different locations. One of these locations is the place where the conference was held.
According to CNN, this conference was held from the 26th of the 27th of February, and that’s where the superspreading took place. It connected to about 20,000 cases, according to Bronwyn MacInnis, researcher at the Broad Institute. She stated: “Many factors made the conference an unfortunate perfect storm as a superspreading event. That the virus was introduced at the conference at all was unlucky. This is not a rigorous estimate but does communicate the scale. If tens of thousands of individuals seems large, it is important to point out that it is in context of a pandemic that has infected tens of millions of people.” \
Of course, the most important thing was the timing of the conference. Back in February, people were still unaware of the dangers of this new virus. This is why the event was still held.