Seven dead, dozens infected after ‘superspreader’ wedding in rural US

MILLINOCKET (AFP) – A wedding in rural Maine became a coronavirus “superspreader” event that left seven people dead and 177 infected, renewing fear of the disease in the northeastern United States (US) state that hoped the worst of the pandemic was behind it.

The nuptials in early August were attended by 65 people, breaking the official limit of 50 allowed at a gathering.

The ceremony was followed by a reception at the Big Moose Inn near the picturesque town of Millinocket whose population numbers just 4,000.

Ten days later, two dozen people associated with the wedding tested positive for Covid-19 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Maine opened an investigation.

The centre’s local director Nirav Shah on Thursday gave the latest toll for the event, adding that none of the seven people who died actually attended the wedding.

Contact-tracers linked the wedding to several virus hotspots across the state – including over 80 cases in a prison 370 kilometres away, where one of the guards attended the ceremony.