coronavirus pandemic

Superspreader ‘Explosions' Plague Efforts to Curb Pandemic

Even as the pandemic evolves and new variants emerge that are more transmissible or can make people sicker, human behavior remains one of the biggest pieces of the equation

Visitors to the Ziggo Dome attend a performance by Dutch singer Andre Hazes
KOEN VAN WEEL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images

Superspreader events that first seeded the coronavirus in the United States are keeping the pandemic smoldering, with experts pointing to human behavior and social circles as the main drivers, NBC News reports.

The problem persists even as the country nears the milestone of having half of its population fully vaccinated. At a church camp in South Texas in late June, an outbreak was linked to more than 125 cases of COVID-19. Eighty-five infections in central Illinois were traced back to a summer camp in mid-June.

Throughout the pandemic, superspreaders — infected individuals who disproportionately spread the virus to many others — have fueled clusters of infection that often make the virus difficult to contain. In other words, when the coronavirus infiltrates communities, superspreader events are the seminal moments when the pathogen lays siege.

Now, with the more-contagious delta variant of the virus circulating in the United States and around the world, experts warn that without adequate mitigation measures, superspreader events are a major threat to vulnerable communities and risk jeopardizing hard-fought gains to drive down the number of cases.

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