Just how risky was the birthday party that Gov. Gavin Newsom attended at a ritzy Napa Valley restaurant?
According to a modeling tool, if held today, there’s an 11 to 12% chance — odds of about one in nine — that one of the dinner guests was infected with the coronavirus.
The COVID-19 risk map, developed by Georgia Institute of Technology researchers, has been peer-reviewed and published in the highly esteemed science journal Nature. Using data on infections in each county, it calculates the risk that at least one afflicted attendee will be at an event of various sizes.
Based on current Napa County infections, the model calculates a 12% likelihood that one guest at an event of 10 people would have COVID-19. Using Sacramento County, where many of the guests were from, gives it an 11% chance.
For context, a 10-person event in hard-hit Foster County, N.D. has an 81% chance of a guest at a party that size being infected.
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, said the 11% risk figure “seems a little high,” but is “in the realm of possibility.”
“Models are great when you compare one thing to the other, but in terms of bringing an absolute number of risk, there are some limitations,” he said.
The Nov. 6 dinner attended by at least 12 people was celebrating the birthday of lobbyist Jason Kinney, a close friend of Newsom’s, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which first reported the story Nov. 13. Newsom and his wife joined members of several other households at the event — including two California Medical Association executives — despite his administration urging against private gatherings of more than three households.
There have been no reports of anyone at the party contracting the coronavirus.
Probability aside, many epidemiologists agree that dining out poses a high risk of infection, given that it places strangers in close proximity for extended periods, often without masks.
Whether indoors or outdoors, dining in a restaurant is “amongst the riskiest things we do for COVID,” largely due to the inherently social nature of the activity, Chin-Hong said.
Studies appear to bear out the conclusion that the party at Michelin-starred French Laundry in Yountville put its guests at significant risk.
“You’re laughing, you’re talking, maybe you have alcohol, which is the case in the French Laundry — you’re generating aerosols. Unless you have a very powerful ventilation system, it can be a risky proposition.”
Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, infectious disease expert at UCSF
A CDC study published in September found that, of 314 adults showing COVID-19 symptoms, those who tested positive for the virus were twice as likely to have dined in a restaurant — whether seated indoors or outdoors — during the preceding two weeks. The researchers did not find a similar distinction in visits to stores, offices, gyms, salons, public transportation and churches.
On the date of the party, Napa County reported 32 new …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment