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Confronting image sparks fears of wild virus spread: 'Didn't save them'

There are fears one of the world's most popular festivals has become a superspreader Covid event, with medical experts saying it demonstrates that even outdoor events aren't safe from the virus.

Epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding expressed concern about what may come from Burning Man in northwestern Nevada, which had 80,000 attendees this year.

"Thousands of attendees headed home—with scores of superspreaders catching #COVID19 and then taking it home with them," Dr Feigl-Ding said on Twitter.

An image of people driving home from the Burning Man festival this year from August 28 to September 5, with traffic times being up to nine hours. Source: Twitter / @cjyu
A shocking image of people driving home from this year's Burning Man festival from August 28 to September 5, with traffic times being up to nine hours. Source: Twitter / @cjyu (Twitter)

While at the festival and days after, event-goers were reporting that they had tested positive to Covid, with one person sharing the shocking things she heard.

"Yikes. Almost everyone I know who went to Burning Man is coming back with COVID," Lauren Hudgins said on Twitter.

"BA.5 really only needs you to speak closely to someone whether you are outside or not."

One person responded saying "Yep, I came home with it".

"Quadruple vaxxed, Masked on plane and bus. Was mostly outside as planned, but took some shelter indoors with others during severe heat+dust storms."

A crew member also relayed his experience with being on the site.

"Speaking as a crew member who’s been on playa building Black Rock City since mid-July, it’s currently running rampant among the several hundred staffers still here packing up the city," he said.

"We have many folks sick & isolating in trailers & tents."

On a Burning Man subreddit, people shared campsite stories, with one attendee saying 20 of out 40 of the people at their campsite tested positive.

“10:10 are covid positive and we are all vaccinated” someone said.

“Sucks so bad as we are feeling super crummy,” another wrote.

“We left on Saturday morning and are at home in our own clean beds tonight.

“I wouldn’t be surprised at all if there’s a bump in positive cases next week as people go home.”

Following the dramatic activity at Burning Man, Dr Feigl-Ding posted a reminder on Twitter about the importance of getting vaxxed.

"Outdoor activity didn’t save them from the virus. #Ba5 is that transmissible. Don’t risk it—get the #BoosterShot."

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