Yet Another Delta Covid "What-do-I-do?"
August 5, 2021 12:04 PM   Subscribe

My wife may have been exposed to Covid two days ago. But it's unclear, and she's quarantining, no symptoms. We have a concert tonight, Japanese Breakfast. We're both fully vaxxed (Pfizer), no symptoms. Do I skip the concert?

I am thinking I skip it, but I'm not 100% sure. I wonder if I'm being overly cautious here. I would LOVE to go and we are having a hard time knowing what is exactly right.

Here's the scenario:
-Wife talked to a colleague outside at a table for ~20 minutes on Tuesday at lunch, no masks. They were sitting across from one another. That colleague went home later that day feeling poor with loss of taste / smell
-Colleague vax status unknown, but likely fully vaxxed. Colleague "allegedly" tested negative yesterday but that's not really confirmed. We're considering positive until further notice
-Wife is quarantining and periodic PCR tests starting Saturday to be safe. No symptoms, but skipping concert to be overly cautious

Concert attendees have to wear a mask per the rules set out by Japanese Breakfast this week, and show vax status OR negative PCR test.

If you were me, would you skip it, or would you go?
posted by glaucon to Health & Fitness (20 answers total)
Assuming in the US, you can get 15 minute over the counter COVID tests at most pharmacies / grocery stores. Made by Binax and Ellume. I felt crappy last week and did the Ellume one, took ~20 minutes of my time for peace of mind to get a negative result. The reviews I have read show that the Ellume one tends to have a false positive rate. I would do one of those and if they came back negative, go.
posted by msbutah at 12:09 PM on August 5, 2021 [8 favorites]

I would stay home, but I'm admittedly paranoid and don't want to contribute to the Delta wave.
posted by Alterscape at 12:26 PM on August 5, 2021 [13 favorites]

The concert is within 48 hours of your potential COVID exposure via your wife? My understanding is that Delta is showing up earlier with tests than previous strains, but we're talking about test efficacy starting around Day 3-4 vs. Day 5-6. Given that you were only exposed 2 days ago, I would be quarantining like your wife until you're within the right time period for testing, and not going to the concert.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 12:40 PM on August 5, 2021 [8 favorites]

I would take a BinaxNow test on the day of the concert and if it's negative, go and also wear an N95 equivalent mask (as much to protect yourself as protect others).
posted by quince at 12:41 PM on August 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

I would go. I would strongly consider wearing a mask.
posted by AugustWest at 12:41 PM on August 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Just a note: Masks are mandatory for everyone regardless of status, and I have N95’s from the CDC list of approved masks I use.
posted by glaucon at 12:43 PM on August 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Looking at cases where the exact time of exposure is known, researchers found that people infected by delta become PCR positive 3-5 days post exposure.

Your wife is unlikely to be infectious yet, even if she has contracted it, and you are even less likely to be. The vaccine is working in both her favour and yours as well, substantially reducing both your risks of contraction.

That said the socially responsible thing to do is probably to pass up the concert, especially if you're in an area with a high case rate and stressed hospitals.
posted by knapah at 12:48 PM on August 5, 2021 [9 favorites]

If you were me, would you skip it, or would you go?

I would skip it. Given the spike in COVID right now, I would not want to be in the midst of a concert anyway much less if I'd recently been exposed to COVID and might pass on a Delta, Delta Plus or other variant.
posted by jzb at 12:49 PM on August 5, 2021 [8 favorites]

You're definitely being *very* cautious, and certainly if everyone were as cautious as you the virus would be significantly more under control.

I don't think it would be wildly irresponsible of you to go - you don't have an exposure, you have a potential exposure to someone who had a potential (if coworker actually had a negative test yesterday that's good news!) briefish outdoor exposure.

It's not clear to me whether the situation is more like your wife has been quarantining *from you* (sleeping in separate bedroom, etc.) or if the two of you have been quarantining together from the world. If it's the former, and she started Tuesday or yesterday, I think you're even more in the clear. Even if your wife is going to develop COVID, she wasn't capable of infecting *you* on Tuesday night. She *might* be capable of infecting you today (two days post exposure), but even that's probably a stretch.

But if you're going to feel uncomfortable about it, don't go.
posted by mskyle at 12:52 PM on August 5, 2021 [9 favorites]

I would go -- we are talking four different events needing to have occurred for you to have covid:
  • Wife's colleague has covid (call this 50% chance)
  • Wife caught covid from colleague sitting across the table outdoors unmasked for 20 minutes with vaccine (this one I would actually give very low probability -- say there would be a 1 in 10 chance w/o vaccine and then lower that by 80% for her vax status so 1 in 50 or 2%)
  • Wife is contagious with covid despite having no symptoms (I don't have a good estimate for this one -- let's call it 50%?)
  • You caught covid from your wife (say this would have been 50% without vaccine, so call it 10%)
So that gives us 50% x 2% x 50% x 10% = 0.05% chance of having COVID, or about 1 in 2000, which is less than the prevalence of COVID in Cuyahoga County (~0.25%). I'd even go so far as to say that, IF you have COVID, you're as likely to have gotten it somewhere else as from your wife's colleague.
posted by goingonit at 12:53 PM on August 5, 2021 [23 favorites]

I would skip it, but I am aware that I live in the cautious end of the spectrum.
posted by Stacey at 1:05 PM on August 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Wife caught covid from colleague sitting across the table outdoors unmasked for 20 minutes with vaccine (this one I would actually give very low probability -- say there would be a 1 in 10 chance w/o vaccine and then lower that by 80% for her vax status so 1 in 50 or 2%)

Being outdoors helps, but be aware that the behavior of the original variant isn't the same as delta's. With the original variant, you were unlikely to get infected without prolonged contact with the carrier. With delta, results from Australia are pointing to infections occurring after seconds of exposure, including exposure to air in spaces the carrier is no longer even occupying. If you're calculating risk according to the old guidelines, they really don't apply anymore - though afaik there isn't yet enough authoritative data for new guidelines for vaccinated people and delta exposure.

If the concert is outdoors I might consider it, though lean against it, but if it's indoors I really wouldn't. I also prefer to err on the side of caution.
posted by trig at 1:10 PM on August 5, 2021 [19 favorites]

I would skip it. The daughter of a colleague here in the U.K. had the Delta variant recently and gave it up to every single person she came in contact with (six people) including three fully vaxed adults. I also know a couple of other fully vaxed adults who have recently caught Covid, one of whom was asymptomatic yet managed to infect at least one other person. If the concert is indoors, I personally wouldn’t risk it, but I’m also more risk averse than most.
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 1:13 PM on August 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

Skip it. Here in Australia we have such a small number of cases that contact tracing is actually a thing, and as trig mentions above, data indicates that Delta has been passed between people who haven't even interacted with each other but just been in the same public space within the same time frame. We do have a much lower rate of vaccination (don't get me started) but Delta is really not something you want to take chances with. My partner (in the US) is fully vaxxed, takes more than usual precautions with behaviour and masks, and somehow got infected anyway. Over 2 months later he is still quite badly affected. I know, a data point of 1 isn't statistically significant, but do you want to be that data point?
posted by Athanassiel at 1:40 PM on August 5, 2021 [6 favorites]

Best answer: I cancelled outside plans last night because a fully vaccinated friend I spent time with outside on Tuesday night got a positive test result back later that evening (he took the test earlier as a requirement for an upcoming trip! He had no symptoms and would never have known otherwise). Part of the reason I cancelled: if I get a positive test result, I'm then going to have to tell folks they might have had a possible exposure, and that I knew I might have exposed when I saw them. And yes, I'm fully vaccinated.

Remember when, early in the pandemic, before all the shut downs, we kept saying we were doing things "out of an abundance of caution"? This Delta variant is no joke. I'd much rather stick close to home for a few days than contribute to the spread, and I'd rather be cautious given I have a known exposure. I think that, out of an abundance of caution, you should stay home.

Having said that, I did go to the pharmacy, full masked, because I had to pick up a prescription. And my kids are still out and about a bit (they're also fully vaccinated). I'm taking walks and riding my bike outside, but not having any social visits til I get a test back (on Saturday, I believe).
posted by bluedaisy at 1:49 PM on August 5, 2021 [5 favorites]

Skip it. I'd forget about whether the colleague turns out positive or not. It's about your chance at getting a breakthrough infection at this concert. What happened at Provincetown last month is a massive warning sign.

I got my second (Moderna) shot 12 weeks ago... and tested positive 4 days ago. I'm really pissed off at myself that I let my guard down at some point when I shouldn't have. And I just lost my taste and smell this morning.

Delta is going to fuck everything up hard and this is only the beginning.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:56 PM on August 5, 2021 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone! Confirmed what I was feeling - I’m not going. Thank you for weighing in!
posted by glaucon at 2:38 PM on August 5, 2021 [12 favorites]

Incidentally MicroCOVID thinks that your wife's chances of getting COVID from this interaction were less than 1 in 1000, even if her colleague had COVID.
posted by goingonit at 4:10 PM on August 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

From a former contact tracer with an MPH, thank you for deciding to cancel.

1. Someone who is fully vaccinated (and asymptomatic) is not required to quarantine after an exposure.

2. People are considered contagious for two days before developing symptoms. It is very likely that your wife had a “known exposure.”
3. In talking with my former colleagues they mentioned how previously almost all the case patients (people who test positive) used to be unvaccinated and now a huge percentage of people that they get are fully vaccinated (and able to manage care at home and not end up in the hospital, but still sick).
A friend of mine traveled for work last week. Not sure if the original case patient was vaccinated or not but my friend (fully vaccinated) and at least 4 of fully vaccinated colleagues got sick and tested positive as well. It’s good that vaccinated people are staying out of hospitals but basically the old guidance that vaccinated people couldn’t spread it is out the window and I’m waiting for the CDC to update that guidance anyway now.

I hope you’re wife is ok.
posted by raccoon409 at 6:23 PM on August 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

Thank you, glaucon. I hope your wife heals up soon, and I’m sorry you’ll be missing the concert.

goingonit, the Microcovid people seem well-intentioned, but I have not seen the tool discussed by a single public-health or medical professional, and it has been getting press for months. I’m not trying to shame anyone for using it, but please consider that fact before relying on or recommending it.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 9:53 PM on August 5, 2021 [10 favorites]

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