Several crypto fans who came down to Miami, Florida, last weekend for the biggest bitcoin conference in history now say they have tested positive for covid-19.
Larry Cermak, research director at the cryptocurrency news committee Block, said on Twitter Thursday that while he had not personally tested positive, “everyone” that he hung out with in Miami during the three-day Bitcoin 2021 conference. Several alleged screenshots circulating on the platform showed other participants announcing that they had since tested positive for the virus. “It looks like I’m signing up for the BTC Miami covid list,” said cryptocurrency podcaster Luke Martin in a now-deleted tweet, according to a screenshot shared by Cryptowhale, the pseudonym of a leading cryptocurrency financial analyst.
It is no wonder that the conference is starting to look more and more like a possible super-spreading event, as 1) there was no mask mandate or evidence of vaccination requirements to attend; 2) about 12,000 people packed into the conference center; and 3) Florida is one of five states who never implemented a face mask requirement nationwide throughout the pandemic and was among the first to throw covid-19 restrictions out the window. While part of the event was held outside, attendees still attended auditoriums, private house parties and other networking events with nary a mask in sight, Bloomberg reports.
“Vaccines have been freely available for several months in the United States, to the extent that anyone wishing to be vaccinated could do so at the time of the event,” Bitcoin 2021 organizer BTC Media said in a statement to the outlet. “We provided all participants with the current recommendations from the CDC and the State of Florida and expressed to our audience that those who were at high risk or had not been vaccinated should consider waiting until next year.”
BTC Media did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s questions about what health precautions were in place last weekend.
The jury is still out on how many people have contracted the virus, or whether Bitcoin 2021 will eventually be labeled as a super-spreading event. From Tuesday, Florida now reports the number of covid-19 cases and deaths each week rather than daily. The state pointed to rising vaccination rates to justify the move, adding that Florida is “moving to the next phase” of its pandemic response. Last week’s report has not yet been released. Nationwide, the current seven-day average of daily news items is 14,349, a decrease of approx. 35% compared to the week before, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.