An Ohio Wedding Had 83 Guests. More Than A Third, Including The Newlyweds, Got The Coronavirus.
An Ohio couple who got married on Halloween were so concerned about the coronavirus pandemic that they slashed their guest list from 200 people to 83, set tables six feet apart, and provided hand sanitizer to guests labelled "spread love not germs."
But 32 people, including newlyweds Anthony and Mikayla Bishop, still tested positive for COVID-19 after the super spreader wedding, reports WLWT5.
Three of the couple's grandparents got sick — two so severely that they had to visit the hospital emergency room.
"I didn't think that almost half of our wedding guests were gonna get sick," Mikayla Bishop told WLWT5. "You're in the moment. You're having fun. You don't think about COVID anymore."
The wedding on Oct. 31 took place as the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic surged across the country. Over the last seven days, Ohio has seen an average of 7,280 new cases per day, an increase of 105% compared to two weeks ago.
"Every county in Northeast Ohio is now literally on fire from this virus," Gov. Mike DeWine said on Wednesday.
However, until the governor introduced a revised mass gatherings order on Monday that banned dancing at weddings and insisted that guests must be seated at all times, no restrictions applied to weddings and the Bishops were not breaking any state or county guidelines.
The Bishops spoke with WLWT5, a local Cincinnati TV network, about their wedding in the hope of encouraging other couples to dramatically lessen the number of guests or postpone their event.
Mikayla said she realized while walking down the aisle the risk of coronavirus spreading at her wedding.
"My big moment honestly was right when the ceremony started and the doors opened and both my parents walked me down the aisle," she told WLWT5. "The first thing I see is I see everyone's face. And that's when I realized, Wow, nobody's wearing a mask."
By then, it was too late. "I'm walking down the aisle. We can't do anything now," she said.
They cut their honeymoon to North Carolina short after Mikayla felt sick and they learned their grandparents were ill.
The couple believe the dance floor was probably the biggest source of COVID-19 spread.
"That’s the turning point. After dinner, after cake," said Anthony, noting that before then all guests were seated at their table and distanced.
"Getting into each others face and there are no masks," added Mikayla.
The governor also agreed that dancing seems to be one of the biggest issues at weddings and other life events.
"It’s not the ceremonies causing the problem. It’s the party afterward," said Gov. Mike DeWine when announcing the new mass gathering restrictions on Monday.
“We have seen rampant spread of the virus as a result of banquets, wedding receptions, and social gatherings following funerals,” said DeWine. “We have seen great tragedy associated with such events."
However, even though the Bishops believe the dance floor helped turn their wedding into a super spreader event, their grandparents who got sick didn't dance — because being indoors for an extended period of time with the virus puts even those who are mainly masked and distanced at risk.
"What's crazy is that our grandparents were the only ones that wore a mask the whole time," said Mikayla. "They weren’t on the dance floor, they weren’t at the bar, they only took it off for food."
Weddings have frequently popped up in the news as major outbreak events.
At least 17 people tested positive after attending a wedding in Washington state earlier this month with more than 300 guests, a crowd more than 10 times what is allowed.
One August wedding in Maine resulted in some 147 infections and killed three people, none of who attended the event but instead caught COVID-19 from a wedding guest.