MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas health experts are concerned that an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration could turn into a coronavirus super spreader event.
“It’s just a bad idea. I think it’s irresponsible,” Dr. Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health Environment, said during a Facebook Live with the University of Kansas Health System on Tuesday.
He’s reacting to college students at Kansas State University who went to Aggieville and threw their own Fake Patty’s Day over the weekend. Fake Patty’s Day is an annual tradition at K-State. People head to the entertainment area in Manhattan the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate. The community’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade did take place as planned.
The official Fake Patty’s Day was canceled this year, but that didn’t stop hundreds of people from celebrating. There are pictures circulating on social media showing people without masks packing bars and restaurants.
“We’ve seen it time and again with young people because … their risk of disease and death doesn’t change,” Dr. Dana Hawkinson, — at the University of Kansas Health System said. “They are certainly at lower risk , but they’re still at risk. But they still have that ability to transmit to other people who could be more at risk.”
The fact that cases of coronaviruses are dropping because of vaccinations could be the only thing that prevents the celebration from becoming a major problem, according to Norman. But he says the country remains in a situation where everyone still needs to be responsible to avoid another outbreak.
“That’s a really bad idea. The reason is that most of them, young people, are healthy and they have not been vaccinated, so for them, nothing’s changed in terms of their risk,” Norman said. “It’s a really bad idea. I know they’re not going to go there and wear a mask, I just don’t think they should go.”
The Aggieville Business Association says a handful of celebrations inside Fake St. Patty’s Day got out of hand. In a statement, Dennis Cook, Director of the Aggieville Business Association, said they tried to manage and control the problems, but the reputation of that specific event exceeds the reality.