3.4 Evidence Mass Gatherings do not increase Flu Epidemics

You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
New Testament Book of John, Chapter 8, Verse 32

Ten Years of Research on Millions of Mass Gatherings involving hundreds of millions of people found not a single flu fatality!
On Monday, March 16, the Governor of Washington State announced he was shutting down all restaurants, bars and gyms and prohibiting all gatherings of more than 50 people and most gatherings of less than 50 people – effectively shutting down all sporting events and social conferences and almost any kinds of meetings. This was in addition to the previous week when he shut down all 2000 public schools and all colleges and Universities in Washington state.

These draconian shut downs caused more than one million people to lose their jobs and severely harmed the education of more than one million school children and hundreds of thousands of college students. We have already seen there is no benefit to these shutdowns – other than delaying the time of the peak week.

But the Mass Hysteria Media says we need to use Social Distancing to Flatten the Curve. Surely they would not be advising us to do something that crashes the economy and costs working families billions of dollars unless there was some benefit?

What is the evidence about the effect of shutting down mass gatherings? Shutting down mass gatherings was also tried in the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. As we have already seen, this method did not reduce either total fatalities or the peak of fatalities in 1918.

Here we will look at further evidence confirming that mass gatherings do not increase flu outbreaks. Therefore shutting down these mass gatherings does not reduce flu outbreaks. It is simply a myth.

Evidence that Mass Gatherings during the 2009 Swine Flu Outbreak did not increase Flu Cases or Flu Fatalities
There were two studies on this important topic using two slightly different methods. Both studies reached the same conclusion which was that mass gatherings did not increase flu outbreaks. The biggest health problem found by both studies related to social gatherings was the presence of food poisoning at large state and county fairs. Here is the first study: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0186730&type=printable

Frequency and characteristics of respiratory disease outbreaks at mass gatherings in the United States
“We administered an online assessment to the 50 state health departments and 31 large local health departments in the United States to gather information about mass gathering-related respiratory disease outbreaks occurring between 2009 and 2014. Outbreaks ranged from 5 to 150 reported cases. Of the 43 respondents, 9 jurisdictions used nonpharmaceutical interventions (including social distancing) to slow or prevent disease transmission. Although respiratory disease outbreaks with a large number of cases occur at many types of mass gatherings, our assessment suggests that such outbreaks may be uncommon, even during the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic.”

“There are more than 14,000 residential camps and nearly 2 million mass meetings in the US each year involving more than 1000 people. CDC routinely recommends that state and local health departments implement a variety of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), including hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and environmental surface cleaning, to reduce disease transmission in mass gatherings. During a severe pandemic, CDC may recommend social distancing and postponing or canceling mass gatherings.”

“We estimate: 1) the number of mass gathering-related respiratory disease outbreaks reported from 2009 to 2014, 2) the etiologies of the outbreaks, and 3) the characteristics of the mass gatherings. Although a mass gathering was defined as a congregation of 1,000 or more persons in either an indoor or an outdoor venue for a common purpose, we included all outbreaks reported in response to the assessment regardless of the gathering’s size.”

“Of the 18 reported mass gathering-related outbreaks, 3 occurred in 2009, one in 2010, 2 in 2011, 11 in 2012, and 1 in 2013. All outbreaks involved multi-day gatherings. Most (94%) involved influenza A and occurred at fairs, camps, religious gatherings, a conference-related social gathering, and a sporting event. Outbreaks ranged in size from 5 to 150 reported cases. State and county fairs had the highest number of cases. Average fair attendance was 95,200 persons.. The number of cases reported from these outbreaks ranged from 3 to 138 and occurred across all age groups.”

My conclusions from the first study: The total number of mass events in the US each year is in the millions. Less than one percent of these events have any health risk. If you go to a county fair, your chances of getting the flu are one in a thousand. This is mainly if you eat food at the fair. The so-called “sporting event” was actually a dog show where 100 people out of 1100 dog handlers got the flu. There were no fatalities at any of these mass meeting events and not even reports of people going to the hospital. The most recommended precaution was health departments encouraging people to wash their hands.

Here is a link to the second study which was a 10 year study on health concerns about mass events: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0160378&type=printable

Mass Gatherings and Respiratory Disease Outbreaks in the United States —Should We Be Worried? Results from a Systematic Literature Review and Analysis of the National Outbreak Reporting System. Published August 18 2016

“We conducted a systematic literature review to identify articles about mass gathering related respiratory disease outbreaks occurring in the United States from 2005 to 2014. Because mass gatherings might create environments conducive for infectious disease transmission, public health officials may recommend postponing or canceling large gatherings during a moderate or severe pandemic. Despite these recommendations, limited empirical information exists on the frequency and characteristics of mass gathering-related respiratory disease outbreaks occurring in the United States.”

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first effort to describe the frequency and characteristics of mass gathering-related respiratory disease outbreaks occurring in the United States. Mass gathering-related respiratory disease outbreaks appeared to be relatively rare during our 10-year project period.”

Mass gatherings can be defined as large events involving more than 1,000 persons in a specific location for a shared purpose. We identified 72 different mass gathering-related respiratory disease outbreaks. Of these, 1 occurred in 2005, 3 in 2007, 27 in 2009, 1 in 2011, 40 in 2012, and none in 2013 or 2014. More than half of the 72 identified outbreaks occurred at state or county agricultural fairs. All of these fairs were large multi-day events ranging between 5 to 12 days.”

“National Outbreak Reporting System (NORS): Between 2009 and 2013, 1,114 flu outbreaks were reported to NORS. None of these outbreaks was linked to mass gatherings in our analysis. No other respiratory disease outbreaks were reported to NORS. None of the outbreaks reported in this assessment involved single-day mass gatherings, although a majority of mass gatherings (e.g., sporting events, music concerts) attracting more than 100,000 participants in the United States are single-day events lasting a few hours.

This assessment suggests that respiratory disease outbreaks in mass gatherings are rare even during the 2009 influenza A (H1N1) pandemic.”

My conclusions from the second study: The biggest problem at these 1,114 mass gatherings reviewed by the second study was food poisoning (695 outbreaks). The health department needs to do a better job of testing the food at fairs. This problem does not justify shutting down all state and county fairs. If people do not want to risk getting sick at the county fair, they should simply not eat any of the food at the county fair. What is stunning about these two studies is that despite the millions of mass gatherings of more than one thousand people in the US each year, neither study was able to find any evidence that mass gatherings of more than one thousand people were related to a single major flu outbreak. So if gatherings of more than one thousand people are extremely safe, then gatherings of 50 people are even safer.

What’s Next?
Despite the massive research indicating that social isolation does not stop flu viruses, there have been a few studies claiming that social isolation works. In the next section, we will look at some of these examples of fake science.