On Saturday, Nov. 7, Joe Biden was projected to have won Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, leading him to victory as President-elect despite President Trump’s unwillingness to concede. Immediately after the news of Biden’s projected win was announced, the streets of Philadelphia and other major cities erupted in excitement. The cheering and music from these celebrations could be heard throughout City Hall and across the nation.
In recent months, Philadelphia has seen many large gatherings as people voice their reactions, both in celebration and in protest. The crowds following Biden’s presumed win have become a controversial talking point over the last few weeks since many who participated in large celebrations also argued against the lack of COVID-prevention at President Trump’s campaign rallies. Now, people are voicing their concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19 from celebrating Biden supporters.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that on Nov. 9, two days after the celebrations in the streets of Philadelphia, an increase of 1,772 new cases was reported since Nov. 6, one day prior to the announcement of Biden’s win. Health officials from the City of Philadelphia are recommending that those who celebrated in the crowded streets now quarantine for 14 days and be tested for COVID-19.
These celebrations, which Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney compared to a second Superbowl win, still have the potential to be super-spreader events. Many people who flocked to the streets on Nov. 7 did not support President Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and called for a nationwide mask mandate. So, in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, everyone who joined in on these celebrations should be wearing a mask now, at all times — even at home.
Research has shown that symptoms of COVID-19, which can be minor for some and life-threatening for others, may not show themselves until 14 days after exposure. However, an infected person can be contagious long before that. Since joining in celebrations of Biden’s win came with a high chance of exposure, taking the responsible measures to wear a mask and quarantine is essential right now.
For those who opposed President Trump’s handling of the pandemic and criticized his campaign rallies, now is the time to put your words — and your mask — where your mouth is. Celebrating responsibly on Nov. 7 by taking proper precautions was an important step, but it cannot stop there. Contracting COVID-19 is still possible when wearing masks and a large spread of the virus did occur on Nov. 7. Until Nov. 21, 14 days after the celebrations, continuing prevention measures is essential to protect your friends, family and those around you from possible exposure.