After the spontaneous contra dance at Porchfest, I'm helping organize another one. I wanted to get a better sense of how much covid risk an attendee would be taking, so I ran some numbers on microcovid. If everyone is masked and vaccinated, I count ~2.2 microcovids:
- ~1.7 from your partner. While your partner is not the only person your head gets close to, you're this close to at most one person at a time, so for simplicity assume its your current partner.
- ~0.2 from your neighbors and next/previous neighbors.
- ~0.2 from your next/previous hands fours.
- ~0.08 from the hands fours one farther away.
If you have multiple lines close together, you could ~double these numbers. Other social dances are likely ~half as risky.
This is a very low level of risk: about 1% of a cautious risk budget of 200 microcovids/week (1% risk of covid/year).
I wish I'd run these numbers sooner: this is probably our last chance for an outdoor dance in Boston before spring.
We may end up dancing indoors this winter. Over the next few months I think our communities are likely to move away from treating covid as something where we have a duty to make substantial sacrifices to limit spread. Once everyone is vaccinated who wants to be, including boosters and approving the vaccine for kids, I think people will view the tradeoffs very differently.
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