Photo on Dec. 11 along Avenue A by Derek Berg
In recent days, several published reports have suggested that SantaCon, held on Dec. 11 in bars and venues in parts of Midtown and in the East Village, played a role in the current surge of positive COVID-19 cases in Manhattan. (It's also a topic brought up in the EVG comments.)
City Councilmember Mark Levine, chair of the Health Committee and Manhattan Borough president-elect, helped bolster this case when he tweeted Saturday about the high numbers in the city: "And yes SantaCon may partly be to blame."
Manhattan unfortunately now has highest covid rate in NYC.— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) December 18, 2021
This is partly because we test more. But this should serve as a warning about how much omicron is out there. Be especially cautious about indoor gatherings where masks come off. (And yes SantaCon may partly be to blame.) pic.twitter.com/DoSOidFhkq
In a story published Sunday, The Daily Mail noted, "The SantaCon surge: Covid cases in Manhattan QUADRUPLE in the six days since notorious costumed bar crawl." The article builds its case on the Levine tweet and other social media posts where people said they tested positive after attending the annual bar crawl that was postponed in 2020.
Here's more from The Cut at New York magazine from Thursday:
Last year, SantaCon was thankfully canceled due to the pandemic. This year, there's still a pandemic — not to mention a highly contagious variant spreading — but like many other holiday gatherings that now seem ill-advised, it happened anyway despite fears it had all the makings of a super-spreader event. And now, surprise: #santacon TikTok is flooded with people who attended and have since tested positive for COVID-19.
The Cut assembled a collection of the SantaCon-COVID clips on TikTok.
Meanwhile, Business Insider also pointed the finger at SantaCon for this current uptick in a piece titled "The SantaCon surge has hit NYC" from Saturday.
Per their report:
[S]ince last weekend — which saw the return of SantaCon, NYC's biggest event of debauchery and drunken revelry — many a New Yorker's phones have blown up with texts from friends saying they'd been exposed to Covid. Positivity rates have doubled in the past three days, with cases in the city up more than 40 percent in one day, recording the highest one-day total since January 14.
Later, the piece backs off a bit from the headline:
To be sure, SantaCon isn't entirely to blame for the Omicron wave. Companies have been holding in-person holiday parties and NYC nightlife has been back to normal for quite some time. Health restrictions, like mask mandates and social distancing, have been increasingly disregarded.
In a post published yesterday at Bushwick Daily, three residents who tested positive and work at bars-restaurants in the East Village or Lower Manhattan blamed SantaCon for spreading COVID.
East Village bartender Iseult James told the site that "the event might have been a super spreader and is largely to blame for the uptick in positive tests. So now, instead of spending Christmas with her husband's parents in Fort Greene, the couple must stay at home."
As multiple news outlets have already reported, average daily case counts in New York City more than doubled over the week ending Dec. 17, according to the latest data available on the city's health department website. NYC is reporting a seven-day average of more than 7,200 cases per day, up from about 3,200 the week prior, a 127-percent increase.
According to the NYC Health site, neighborhoods including the East Village and Murray Hill, where SantaConners mingled on Dec. 11, have among the highest positivity rates in the five boroughs for the week ending Dec. 17. The citywide positivity rate is at 7.68 percent.
Of course, SantaCon participants or bar employees who have tested positive don't necessarily live in these zip codes. (Also, these zip codes also have high rates of fully vaccinated adults, above the city's 71 percent.)
Meanwhile, Mayor de Blasio addressed the rise in COVID cases during a press conference yesterday.
"It's going to be a very challenging few weeks. But the good news is based on what our healthcare leadership understands, at this moment, we are talking about a matter of weeks," de Blasio said, as CNBC reported.
The mayor went on to say that New Yorkers infected with omicron are experiencing mild symptoms so far, though many unanswered questions remain about the variant.
"We're going to see a really fast upsurge in cases; we're going to see a lot of New Yorkers affected by omicron," de Blasio said. "So far, thank God based on everything we've seen, the cases are milder than what we've experienced previously."
Gov. Hochul reemphasized yesterday that there would not be any new shutdowns.
"It's not March of 2020. It's not even December of 2020. Just to keep things in perspective, it is milder than delta," Hochul said of omicron, per NBC 4. "We are avoiding a government shutdown because we now have the tools available to all of us — vaccinations, booster shots, masks — particularly for the variant we're dealing with."
Well it looks like all the little santaconners got a little something from santa this year.
Santacon Derangement Syndrome is officially a thing. If bars are open people will congregate and drink, whether in costume or not. Duh.
Not sure I agree with this but ANY excuse to ban it for ever is WELCOMED!
There were so many people bar hopping that Saturday I'm not surprised. The only thing about these stats are who are they reflecting? A lot of the SC revelers come from out of the neighborhood - so these numbers must reflect business owners, employees and obviously residents (many of whom did Santacon).
Perhaps it's why Long Island is surging too.
The young locals who pack restaurants and bars night after night brought it upon themselves, not a bunch of annoying kids, who mostly came from, and went back to, NJ and LI.
And don't forget, the mass infection had probably started at the Anime convention at Javitz.
Santa is an anagram for Satan!
SantaCon is a blight whether they spread this variant or not...and they probably did.
There was a big backyard santacon party behind my building. Their yard was filled with trash and solo cups until YESTERDAY. At first I thought bad hangovers was slowing the cleanup, but as days turned into more than a week, I wondered if maybe the residents had been struck down by the covid....
What is it going to take to kill Santacon?
I've never been a participant, but I was forced to take the train that day because of work. Not a mask in sight. I've been careful since the beginning, masking up, socially distancing, getting vaxed and boostered. Couldn't avoid the train. Now I'm sick with Covid. That is the ONLY time I've been in close proximity to people, most of them unmasked. So Santacon and its defenders can FOAD.
Bill DeBlasio is counting the days until he leaves office, his parting gift the surge of Xmas 2021.
How is this surge his fault exactly?
@7:53AM: You don't seem to understand the difference between an ordinary amount of people out drinking "normally" on any given weekend VERSUS having a shit-load of many thousands of people deliberately descend on the East Village & environs from all over the tri-state area, for the specific purpose of crowding into bars over a period of approximately 14 hours. THAT, my friend, is called a "super-spreader event" and you know damn well that the organizer of Santacon would NEVER actually show up on that day to put himself in danger! But nobody seems to care about the employees at bars getting sick, b/c it was more important to party than to care about people becoming desperately ill. This entire event was just stupidity writ extra-large.
@10:22am: If you need it explained to you at this point, you just haven't been paying attention.
As to whether Santacon led to the surge: Well, DUH, what do you imagine would be the likely effect of bringing in people from all around the tri-state area who just want to PARTY all day *and night* starting from 10AM that day, and NOT wearing masks? And some definitely NOT vaxxed, no matter what their fake cards said.
The likely effect would be exactly what we're seeing: a hell of a lot of cases of Covid. And b/c no one is doing any contact tracing, I'm sure there are mini-surges in all the lovely 'burbs these revelers call home. Covid is the gift that you can keep on giving to others if you're dumb enough and self-centered enough.
Many reports are also missing another Brooklyn Superspreader - the LCD Soundsystem Residency at Brooklyn Steel. Plenty of Reddit & social chatter about 100s getting sick after the shows. The band ultimately canceled the last three shows, but the damage was done. From what I've seen online, plenty of bat & restaurant workers were at those shows.
Omicron spread at Santacon, spread at LCD Soundsystem, spread at the anime convention, the bodega, the grocery store, the subway, your apartment halls... Silly trying to make it like it's one thing
Yes, everyone I talked to that went to Santacon has caught it. Enjoy your omicron!
You think Santacon is a tristate area thing but I know D-bags who fly in for it.
"Omicron spread at Santacon, spread at LCD Soundsystem, spread at the anime convention, the bodega, the grocery store, the subway, your apartment halls... Silly trying to make it like it's one thing"
No, as the Grieve headline said: "Did SantaCon "contribute" to NYC's current COVID-19 surge?"
Of course the answer is yes since the hospitality industry people, post SantaCon, have been hit hard by this variant.
"De Blasio Shut Down 20 City-Run COVID Testing Facilities Ahead of Omicron Surge"
Of course SantaOmicron was a superspreader event. All these very smart people with bright futures came in from Connecticut, Long Island and New Jersey to drink and mix their precious bodily fluids together, and then they all took their brand new Brovid infections home to Mommy Dearest and Daddy Warbucks. Who gave it to Grandma Walton and Grandpa Joe. Who gave it to Aunt Bea and Uncle Tessio, and now Cousin Eddie is blowing chunks while coughing up a lung. Soon, wealthy New Yorkers will be fleeing to the suburbs and to their houses in the Hamptons where they can share the virus with the locals all over again, just like they did last time. But don’t worry, it was all for a good cause.
Santa Con day a party was raging at 11:00am in my EV building. Walked off the elevator around then into a cluster of three yelling 6'5" young men dressed in green elf costumes. Sat outside the coffee shop and watched a stream of 20 and 30 somethings making there way into the EV. About three of them were masked. This is all before noon.
Anyone who does not think Santa Con, the LCD Sound System Show in Brooklyn, the many holiday parties, all the events that "are back" and the hordes of unmasked people out and about were not epic, American exceptionalism superspreader events are delusional. It was like watching a train wreck coming at us in slow motion. Europe has been dealing with a surge for months now and yet everyone is surprised?
there's only 1 answer, and it's yes.
Of course now everyone who gets a booster shot can get $100, days after I got mine for nothing.
Santacon is a silly irrelevant footnote to the spread of Omicron. Nothing stopped it in Europe. Nothing will stop it here. The "good news", if the reports are true, is that it doesn't infect lung tissue. Get jabbed, get boosted, wear a mask, live your life. As the Chancellor of Germany said, " By the end of winter you'll be either vaccinated, recovered, or dead."
@10:53- LOL @ People drinking "normally." Oh yeah, I see that all the time!
@11:40am: Fly in for Santacon? Those people seriously need to get a life and/or an AA sponsor. Or both!
@3:51PM: LOL @ People drinking "normally." Oh yeah, I see that all the time!
Perhaps you don't understand the use of quotation marks, then! You definitely missed the point.
Its very easy to jump to conclusions that fit your narrative. One could argue that Santacon has kept away bears and tigers from the city. Do you see any bears or tigers in the city? Then it must be working.... This is what we call "specious reasoning". Now i don't particularly like Santacon but lets not pin the whole blame on it when there are many factors involved. NYC is a hotbed for disease transmission regardless due to density. We will always be hit hard during pandemics.
@6:15AM: I'm guessing you were not on the debate team in school, b/c you are connecting the dots illogically. I suggest you ask an epidemiologist to explain to you the likely (and pretty predictable) effect of Santacon in spreading Covid.
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