Weddings are well-known high-risk events for Covid. Guests schmooze, they laugh (emitting microdroplets), they kiss.. contacts are often prolonged, longer than required for transmission of SARS CoV2 (10 min). The newest Omicron variants are even more infectious than their precursors. With meals pre-wedding, at the wedding, and post-wedding, and guests necessarily unmasked, the risk is obvious. Add singing in a church or otherwise…more microdroplets.
No wonder weddings have been canceled at high rates during the pandemic. But they are coming back. As a younger relative explained to me, the best remedy was alcohol, especially Scottish Whiskey! Yes you guessed right, I attended the wedding of my nephew in Edinburgh. In a Scottish castle!
We tested for Covid by PCR prior to getting on the flights from the US and from other European countries. All were negative. Then there were daily parties: (1) an indoor cocktail party to introduce the families, no masks, (2) a romantic outdoor party around a bonfire, no masks, (3) a formal dinner at the castle, hosted by the grooms family, no masks, (4) the chapel service, the wedding dinner, and dance party, no masks, and (5) post-wedding brunch and parties, no masks.
The first of us with symptoms, including high fever, became sick the night of the wedding. In rapid succession 4 others became sick. 4/5 had sat and dined at the same table, not once but twice! One had shared the backseat of a car for 45 min while on our way to a hiking destination.
While it seemed pretty clear how the virus had spread within the wedding party, no one knew where it had come from. The overnight Delta flight from New York to Edinburgh? Any of the numerous persons serving and preparing for the wedding events? The possibilities and wild theories abounded!
Of course, we went into quarantine (5 days minimum). Thank you so much to my brother and sister-in-law for hosting us! Their home became a Covid sick ward. Flights were canceled and rebooked at considerable costs. Job-related meetings were canceled. Etc.
In hindsight, I ask, what would I do differently?
- MASK, MASK, MASK
- Avoid in-flight meals
- Avoid all indoor wedding events or at least attend heavily MASKED – no indoor dining events…. that is a hard one to impose on the wedding couple.
PS1: this was my 2nd bout with Covid and far worse than the first one. Like all of us who got this virus in Scotland, I was fully vaccinated and boosted although not yet with the latest Omicron vaccine which we could not get scheduled in time for the wedding.
PS2: on our way home via Toronto on West Jet, a Canadian company, the attendant happily announced that Canada was canceling their on-flight compulsory MASK policy as of Nov 1, 2022. The cabin erupted in applause. I am genuinely nervous about the upcoming winter season for Flu and Covid.