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Dozens Tested COVID Positive After “Safe” New Orleans Swingers’ Convention

by SharonKurheg

If you’ve read Your Mileage May Vary for any length of time, you may notice that Joe tends to write more of the articles that have to do with points & miles, credit cards, hotels, airlines, etc. I tend to write more of the “human interest” stories. Or even if a post isn’t much of an interest to most humans, it’s at least quirky. So, for example, if you’ve ever seen anything that had to do with more “adult” stuff on YMMV, even during COVID, chances are excellent that I wrote it. Like these:

So yeah, just add this to the pile of quirky stuff that Sharon tends to write about…

About 300 people went to a swingers‘ convention in New Orleans in mid-November. To date, over 40 of them so far have contracted COVID. But the thing that was different about this particular event is that they really did pay attention to safety and did their best to avoid their convention becoming a super spreader event.

Except it didn’t work.

Naughty N’awlins has been an annual event in New Orleans since at least 2011. This year it took place at the Astor Crowne Plaza. Similar to Gay Days at Walt Disney World (but, well, the attendees are generally straight ;-)), they take over an entire hotel, sponsor a bunch of exclusive events and just have fun being who they are.

The annual convention, put on by a company called Naughty Events (because of course it is), usually has a few thousand attendees. Thanks to COVID, this particular Naught N’awlins was postponed twice in 2020 until it seemed like the best time (read: lower viral numbers), but even then, only about 300 signed up to attend.

For Naughty N’awlins 2020, the Naughty Events coordinators took what they thought was every step possible to keep the event safe:

  • The convention was only open to those who had already had COVID (so were thought to be immune), or who had very recently tested and was negative (attendees had color-coordinated wristbands to differentiate people in each group)
  • Those with higher risk factors (i.e. diabetes, heart problems, asthma, over age 65, etc.) were asked not to come
  • They instituted a touchless process for check-in
  • They did temperature checks
  • They ensured social distancing in queues and encouraged it during other situations
  • They offered materials for sanitizing
  • Masks were required in all public places, including hotel elevators, at their parties and conferences, and in the hotel pool
  • They did their own form of contact tracing

Yet despite all of that, at least 41 attendees eventually tested positive. One was even hospitalized.

So what happened?

Bob Hannaford, Founder & CEO of Naughty Events, wrote a long blog post about the entire situation and he went over some of the things that he thought went wrong:

  • The 5-day event kicked off on Tuesday, Nov. 10th. By Monday, the 16th, 5 people had emailed and said they had tested positive. By Tuesday they were up to 14 and by Wednesday it had jumped to 29 cases. Overall, 41 (roughly 13% of the attendees) people eventually reported being positive for COVID. That’s on top of those who may have been positive but asymptomatic and never got tested. With COVID’s incubation period running from a couple of days to upwards of 2 weeks, people could have been tested just before attending and just not shown that they were positive yet. Or those who had had COVID may have still technically been positive. Or they could have caught it while at the convention.
  • Masks were required at the convention but were allowed to be removed for eating and drinking. And let’s face it, if you’ve ever been to NOLA, you know there’s a whole lot of eating and drinking to be done in New Orleans.
  • Despite no dancing allowed and all attempts to encourage social distancing, people would still tend to group up as 2 couples (I mean, it WAS a convention for swingers). To say nothing of what was done in the privacy of their hotel rooms because, again, it was a convention for an alternative lifestyle group.
  • Following interviews with those who contracted COVID, many admitted that although they were careful for the first few days, they were less so on the last day. “Eff it; it’s our last day” was the mindset of several, and they just weren’t as diligent as they could/should have been.

Bob Hannaford apparently has a bunch of 20/20 hindsight right now, and it sounds as if he knew then what he knows now, he probably wouldn’t have put on Naughty N’awlins 2020. But he apparently doesn’t feel TOO badly because Naughty N’awlins 2021 is already on the books for August 4-8, 2021. Well, unless it gets rescheduled. Or canceled.

Anyway, here’s Naughty Events’ website, just in case you’re into that sort of stuff. I wouldn’t recommend going in 2021 if COVID is still a thing then (plus, let’s face it – it’s really humid in New Orleans in the summer).

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#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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