Multiple State of the Word Attendees Test Positive for COVID-19

Multiple State of the Word Attendees Test Positive for COVID-19
State of the Word 2021 in NYC

Matt Mullenweg’s 2021 State of the Word address was held in New York City nine days ago with a live studio audience. On Sunday, December 19, all in-person attendees were notified by email that they were possibly exposed to COVID-19 after one of the attendees tested positive.

Although proof of vaccination was required at the door, multiple people have reported recent infections after traveling home from the event. Aaron Jorbin tweeted about his case today, and four more have been reported in a private channel on Post Status Slack.

There’s no way to know for certain whether the attendees who contracted COVID-19 caught the virus at the State of the Word, as many of them traveled from far away places and had meetups with other attendees outside of the main event.

Concerns about the lack of masks and no requirement for rapid tests began popping up prior to the event. From the perspective of viewing the livestream, masks were scant and attendees were quite close together in a small space.

The day before the event, the WHO warned that evidence suggested the new Omicron variant could escape prior immunity and would lead to surges with a high transmission rate. Studies were already showing reduced effectiveness of existing vaccines against the variant. On December 13, New York governor Kathy Hochul announced a new temporary indoor mask mandate for public spaces, which could be bypassed by requiring vaccines for entrance.

When asked how the State of the Word’s coordinators decided on the precautions, WordPress Executive Director Josepha Haden Chomphosy said the event met the local guidelines while allowing attendees to make their own choices for anything beyond the requirements.

“We followed the guidelines as laid out by the city,” Haden Chomphosy said. “Masks and hand sanitizer were liberally available throughout the venue, and we encouraged attendees to make informed decisions about their health.”

It has been well-documented that indoor masking can significantly reduce transmission, so it was

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This article was written by Sarah Gooding and originally published on WP Tavern.

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