Some of the 12,000 attendees who flew to Miami for the largest Bitcoin event in history last weekend have started testing positive for Covid.
Bitcoin 2021 attracted crypto enthusiasts from around the world to the Mana Wynwood Convention Center in the arts and entertainment district of Miami. For three days, conference attendees huddled in overcrowded lecture halls, happy and hugging. It was the first major conference since the pandemic began, and many attendees said they were relieved to be among colleagues sharing messages and updates.
There was no mask requirement and no vaccination certificate requirement for participation. Covid was just a topic of conversation in connection with everyone’s excitement about being on the other side of the pandemic.
This is of course until some conference participants said on Twitter that they had tested positive for the corona virus.
For full disclosure, I attended the show after receiving two doses of the Moderna vaccine this spring. Vaccination isn’t a 100% guarantee of immunity, but at the moment I have no symptoms. A lot of my conversations with Uber and Lyft drivers started with a discussion about vaccination together.
It remains to be seen whether the conference will ultimately be billed as a super spreader event.
How many people are affected is unclear. The Miami Mayor’s office told CNBC on Friday that the messages on Twitter about people contracting Covid were unconfirmed, based on public data from local hospitals.
“It is not responsible and unfair at this point to talk about a ‘super-spreader’ when our city hosted over 50,000 people in privately organized events over a weekend based on a handful of tweets,” the office wrote in a statement.
Conference organizers told CNBC that all attendees had received “the latest recommendations from the CDC and the State of Florida,” and told the audience that “those at high risk or not vaccinated are considering should wait until next year. “
On Tuesday, Florida said it would no longer report daily Covid cases and deaths as vaccinations increase and move into the “next phase” of the pandemic. Florida reported an average of eight new cases per 100,000 residents last week, well below its pandemic high of 84 per 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.