A swingers’ convention in New Orleans left a bad taste in the mouths of partygoers after the copulation of strangers turned into an apparent superspreader event for COVID-19 when dozens of partygoers tested positive for the virus, as reported by an organizer.
In a post on his blog, one seemingly both apologetic and defensive, Naughty Events owner Bob Hannaford expressed that November’s five-day Naughty in N’awlins bash seemed like it got away unscathed thanks to regimented pandemic guidelines at the swingers’ party.
“We went to extraordinary measures for check-in and instituted a touchless process with required temperature checks, social distancing in line, and sanitizing upon check-in,” Hannaford wrote regarding the blowout in the Big Easy, which started on Nov. 10.
“We had extraordinary precautions,” Hannaford said. “We’re trying to be part of the solution, not the problem. But we’re realists. We knew some people were going to contract it….My business won’t have another event until next year.”
The organizer was under the impression that the close-contact event, where strangers shared intimate bodily excretions of all kinds, wouldn’t lead to an issue because half the participants tested positive for antibodies, giving him the impression that they would be immune.
“We issued wristbands in one color to indicate who had antibodies and therefore was not contagious. We issued a second color to those that showed us a very recent negative COVID-19 test,” he added. “The wristbands even had each person’s date of their test circled.”
Hannaford even remembered having dinner on the town with friends to cap off the climax of the sexy spectacle. Their celebration came a little early.
“The next day the texts started. We had our first positive case,” he stated. “It was a wife who tested positive on Monday night after our event. Her husband tested negative. Both were tested prior to coming to the event.”
Within the next few days, many more troublesome emails poured in, totaling 41 out of their 300 guests, Hannaford said in the post, which was first disclosed on Tuesday by local media outlets including alternative Crescent City weekly Gambit.
“Most would consider that a positivity rate of 13%, but there’s more to a positivity rate,” Hannaford said. “You see, we have no idea how many people got tested after our event, nor if anyone tested positive and didn’t tell us. There could also be people that are positive, but without symptoms, so they never got tested.”
“As I was writing everyone to try and convince high-risk people not to come, I thought of my own wife (Tess) who has a compromised immune system,” he said. “How could I ask her to attend when I was telling others in her situation not to come? How could I move forward with the event without Tess? More moral and ethical decisions to make. I decided to send Tess back down to Mexico where it was a lot safer than the U.S.”
One participant, referred to by Hannaford as “a good friend,” landed in the hospital in serious condition, but has since been discharged.
With many other affected attendees, Hannaford knew beforehand that they either only had minor symptoms or were asymptomatic, he said.
“Would I do it all over again?” offered Hannaford, citing that at the time the party kicked off, New Orleans had some of the most lax rules for pandemic restrictions.
“If I could go back in time, I would not produce this event again,” he said in his statement. “I wouldn’t do it again if I knew then what I know now. It weighs on me and it will continue to weigh on me until everyone is 100% better.”
As of last Tuesday afternoon, Louisiana has accounted for 232,414 of the United States’ 13,580,941 positive COVID-19 cases and 6,420 of its 268,880 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
New Orleans city officials already have halted plans for 2021’s Mardi Gras parades and celebration with the outbreak still looming across the U.S.