University of Nebraska Medical Center

Tally of covid-19 cases after CDC conference climbs to 181

Washington Post

The tally of people infected with the coronavirus after attending a high-profile Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conference in April has risen to at least 181, the agency reported Friday. No one was hospitalized.

The CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service officers and alumni — the disease detectives deployed to identify and fight outbreaks — met April 24-27 at an Atlanta hotel. The conference drew 1,800 in-person attendees, the first in-person Epidemic Intelligence Service gathering in four years. Like many conferences, it was crowded, with much face-to-face contact, many events held in small rooms and lots of socializing, according to attendees. About 70 percent of participants who responded to a CDC surveysaid they did not wear masks at the event.

The outbreak of covid-19 cases at the conference underscores the persistence of an evolving and highly infectious virus.

Another CDC global health meeting is scheduled for the same hotel in early June; about 300 to 400 people are expected to attend in person, said one CDC employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak.

In a “Know Before You Go” document shared with The Washington Post, CDC organizers encourage attendees at the June conference to wear their “own high-quality masks and, if possible, also carry covid-19 rapid tests with them.” Organizers of the second conference were informed about the covid outbreak at the earlier event, CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said. The agency will have masks available if employees want to wear one, she said.

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