Q&A – How Many COVID Cases Are Attributed To Spring Break?

Today’s entry: The spring break virus stories are being hyped again. I never heard anything conclusive about how many people really spread the virus on the beach. Was there anything conclusive or all just suspected?

Bottom Line: There’s no doubt last year’s Spring Break contributed to the spread of COVID and there are two specific studies recognized by the CDC which gave us an idea of the extent of it. The first study involved students traveling from the University of Texas at Austin to Cabo for Spring Break. Of 183 students in the travel party, 60 were found to have contracted COVID on the trip. Those 60 infected individuals led to an additional 4 cases with people they came in contact with according to contract tracers. It’s a small sample with specific circumstances but it provides an idea of how pervasive the spread was within that control group.

Another one which specifically studied spring breakers in Florida, was conducted by Ball State University’s Paul Niekamp and the Federal Reserve’s Daniel Mangrum. Their study included the activity of 7.5 million students across 1,326 schools. What they found is that counties where these students traveled had an average of 20% more COVID cases after two weeks than like communities where spring breakers didn’t travel. Additionally, they found the ambient spread of the virus didn’t peak from these students until five weeks after they’d returned home. In other words, if a student on spring break contracted the virus, the impact of their spread locally wouldn’t have run its course for five weeks and there were an average of 20% more cases than there would have been if not for these students. The most impacted city in the country was New York. The most impacted state was Florida.

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com

Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio

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