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Yikes! I Went to a Superspreader Wedding & Guess What?




The Insider:

Hi Susan! Thanks for talking with The Insider today.

Susan Clark:

My pleasure.

The Insider:

To start, let me just get a few background facts. Where do you live?

Susan Clark:

I live in New Jersey.

The Insider:

Your profession? Are you working?

Susan Clark:

I am semi-retired.

The Insider:

Have you been vaccinated? Boosted?

Susan Clark:

I received two Moderna vaccinations and three Moderna boosters, the last being the bivalent booster.

The Insider:

How would you describe your pandemic lifestyle? A mask wearer, for example? Have you been super cautious or relaxed?

Susan Clark:

I am a mask wearer. Early on, I sewed three-layer masks for myself, family, and friends. I gave them out to anyone who needed them. I continue to wear my mask in public settings–supermarket, stores, the mall. I don’t wear my mask in small settings or outdoors.

The Insider:

Do you eat inside restaurants?

Susan Clark:

I can count on one hand how many times I’ve eaten inside a restaurant since the pandemic began. I’ve been very selective. I look for not crowded with good air flow. I’ve passed on restaurants that are too crowded. It’s been a challenge while traveling.

The Insider:

Have you flown?

Susan Clark:

Yes. I use a KN95 mask for plane travel.

The Insider:

In Manhattan, things have gotten more relaxed, lately pandemic-wise. Have you eased up on some of this recently, or are you still as vigilant?

Susan Clark:

I have eased up and no longer wear a mask in small social settings. I am still vigilant around strangers…except for a recent wedding.

The Insider:

How big was the wedding?

Susan Clark:

About 170 people.

The Insider:

Where was it held? What type of place?

Susan Clark:

It was held at a restaurant/catering hall/inn.

The Insider:

Were you asked to take a Covid test before the wedding?

Susan Clark:

The invitation asked all guests to take a Covid test the day of the wedding. To be perfectly honest, I would have forgotten if I hadn’t pulled out the invite to get the address for my GPS. After reading that, I tested and it was negative. I think a reminder sent out a day or two before the event would have been helpful.

The Insider:

Were there any other precautionary things done by the hosts? For example, were the tables far apart?

Susan Clark:

The staff wore masks and the tables were comfortably spaced apart.

The Insider:

Were the guests to the wedding wearing masks too?

Susan Clark:

No guests were wearing masks, including me. I had one of my handmade masks with me but didn’t use it.

The Insider:

I bet it was a relief to be back in a normal setting after so many months of restrictions!

Susan Clark:

It did feel great, almost normal. I think if someone started coughing or sneezing, the mask would have come out. Everyone I saw appeared to be in good health.

The Insider:

So what happened after the wedding?

Susan Clark:

It was a Saturday-night, black-tie-optional wedding. My throat started feeling scratchy on Monday night. I woke up Tuesday morning with a low-grade fever (100.5) and a bad cold. I took a home Covid test and it showed negative. I had already planned to test again on Wednesday when I got a text from the groom’s mom that she, his dad, and two people at our table had Covid. When I tested on Wednesday, it was positive. When I told her, she said 22 people had come down with Covid.

The Insider:

Oh, no!!!!

Susan Clark:

She felt terrible and hoped that people wouldn’t remember the wedding for the Covid outbreak.

The Insider:

Of course they will!

Susan Clark:

It was otherwise a beautiful wedding.

The Insider:

Did you ever hear the joke, “And other than that, how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?”

Susan Clark:

Yes! We have been using that joke for this instance!

The Insider:

Did the groom’s mother know who Patient Zero was?

Susan Clark:

No, but the thought is that it spread by way of the dance floor. No one appeared outwardly ill.

The Insider:

I’m sorry you got Covid there! Did you get very sick?

Susan Clark:

I had a bad cold for three days with a low-grade fever. On the morning of the fourth day, I woke at 4 a.m. covered in sweat. I assume that my fever spiked while I was sleeping and that knocked it out of me. My temperature went back to normal and the cold started to subside. I just have a lingering cough now. This is typical for me after a cold.

I quarantined inside for five days and minimally went out masked for the next five days. I retested for Covid on Day 11 and it was negative.

The Insider:

That must have been a relief! Were you surprised that you got Covid after five vaccines?

Susan Clark:

My friends kept telling me that eventually everyone will get it and if I didn’t, I must have had it and was asymptomatic. It was disappointing but I think the vaccinations kept it on the mild side.

The Insider:

Do you feel angry at the hosts? Annoyed that vaccines have their limitations? What is the lesson here?

Susan Clark:

I am not at all angry with the hosts. I am annoyed with myself for letting my guard down. I think I might have been able to avoid catching Covid had I worn my mask. I think the vaccine helped me avoid a more serious illness.


We just got back from a weekend away. I wore my mask around other people who were congregating. I was among the few wearing a mask. Since I have coordinated some of these masks to what I am wearing, it’s almost like a fashion statement.

The Insider:

That sounds right! Just one more question—have you talked with any of the other wedding guests who got Covid? What did they say?

Susan Clark:

I’ve only spoken with the groom’s mom since. We only knew one other couple at our table and they have been fine. I think they already had Covid earlier this year. It’s a shame because the other people we met and sat with were really nice and all live nearby.

The Insider:

You sound like a real trouper! Thanks so much for your time, Susan! I’m glad you’re testing negative now.

Susan Clark:

You are quite welcome! By the way, have you been able to avoid catching Covid?

The Insider:

Yes, I have outrun it so far. But your friends may be right, and my number will be up one of these days!

Susan Clark:

Hang in there!

The Insider:

Thanks!


Update later that day

Susan Clark:

I have an update on the Covid numbers. The final guest count was 30. But then some people later caught it from their spouses, so with the indirect count, it’s more like 34. . The bride’s mother got Covid from the wedding and then her husband got it about a week later, indirectly from the wedding. Fortunately, the bride and groom were fine. As well, the two grandparents that were there were fine.

The Insider:

Is it correct to assume that the wedding was thrown by the bride’s family?

Susan Clark:

Both families hosted.

The Insider:

Does it sound as though the two families have any regrets about the way they handled this? For example, should guests have been asked to take PCRs, or rapid tests at the door?

Susan Clark:

It would not be practical to ask for a PCR test since that could take a few days. Also, it’s not practical to test at the door. I think a friendly reminder a few days before would have been helpful.

The Insider:

Has anyone gotten really sick? Hospitalized?

Susan Clark:

Thankfully no one got seriously ill.

The Insider:

I just thought of one other precaution that’s probably been used elsewhere. Were guests told they needed to have been vaccinated?

Susan Clark:

No, but that may be why no one got seriously ill.

The Insider:

Thanks, Susan!


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