Going to a con in Atlanta over Labor Day...horrible idea, right?
August 8, 2021 3:43 PM   Subscribe

I am having trouble parsing what the Delta variant actually means for vaccinated people going to big events. I usually go to a giant scifi/fantasy con in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend that is absolutely packed. This year it's probably going to have 50% attendance, but going is still a horrible idea, right?

Lots of various life stressors have made it difficult for me to parse the current Delta info as well as make a clear-headed decision on this. My friends (as of now???) are still going, as are most of the people I can see posting about it online, which has me second guessing myself. (Though I know this is a self-selecting group and does not represent all attendees). The con itself is not going to cancel because they are broke after cancelling last year.
We are all vaccinated and would mask, but going is very silly right? I keep seeing lots of data about how the vast majority of COVID cases right now (~97%) are unvaccinated people, but that doesn't make it safe to go to Georgia? It's extra hard because two months ago I think I would have gone without worrying about it.

posted by clarinet to Travel & Transportation around Atlanta, GA (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: FWIW I know the con you're talking about, I'm on staff, and I am not going.
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:49 PM on August 8, 2021 [31 favorites]

Best answer: I was talking to some friends about this recently, and it is absolutely not a good idea to go to DragonCon this year. Most of my friends cancelled, a few are driving down just to keep hotel seniority (such a weird system) but not really going to the con proper. Half the fun of the con is the hotel roaming, and that will either be empty and boring, or too crowded and unsafe.

I had these conversations two weeks ago, and things are getting worse in Georgia by the day. I'm pretty open to doing fun things and accepting risk but this would be a hard no for me.
posted by JZig at 3:50 PM on August 8, 2021 [12 favorites]

Best answer: Even if you do go, from the sounds of it the convention itself wouldn't be up to its usual quality and you may spend the time feeling anxious and unsafe instead of comfortable and capable of enjoying yourself. Health risks aside, does that sound like a good time to you?
posted by fight or flight at 3:56 PM on August 8, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Well, how okay are you with getting a little COVID? Do you have a job with healthcare and PTO? If you have long COVID, do you have a support system? Are you able to quarantine when you get home? If you get pretty sick (since everyone's going to come in here banging on about how you probably won't get hospitalized as if that's all that matters), what's your situation going to be as far as being taken care of while you're contagious?

Does your local area need you going away and coming back possibly contagious? How's the ICUs in your area?

I'm not okay with any of the above, and honestly I don't know if I'll ever go to a con again - it used to be a given that you'd get con crud but it feels like the crud stakes are highly elevated maybe forever. I wouldn't go. I run with a very risk-averse crowd and none of them are going, though usually I know at least 1-5 people who are.
posted by Lyn Never at 3:56 PM on August 8, 2021 [23 favorites]

Best answer: -Things that felt very safe and reasonable at the beginning of June are not feeling so safe any more. The situation is changing and what we know is changing. I saw a forecast that said that maybe Delta will peak in September and then start to fall (or maybe not) but things will be worse in four weeks than they are now.

- Before people who were vaccinated would rarely get COVID (the original variant) and rarely pass it on to others. Now, with Delta, people who are vaccinated definitely get COVID although at a fraction of the rate of people who are unvaccinated. If you are vaccinated and do get COVID, you will probably not feel well but probably (not guaranteed but probably) not be sick enough to have to go the hospital. If you get sick, you will probably also pass it along.

- If you are not sure, why not err on the side of caution? Maybe stay home but maybe take some of the travel money and do something nice for yourself.
posted by metahawk at 4:05 PM on August 8, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Alright. I'm not sure if what I'm saying is chatfilter, but I'll give you my armchair analysis from being *deep* in the data for Massachusetts (as a bystander). Yes, MA is a blue state and is not GA, but there are some *neat* observations in how covid has resurged here over the past few weeks that are relevant and are under-reported at the moment. Covid spreading right now is a question of the unvaccinated and those that act with entitlement - either not understanding the overall health risks, or those with money that just want to go places and think that they will be the magical exception to getting sick.

First off, the majority of Covid cases in MA are coming from people younger than 50, with the biggest spike of folks in their 20s and 30s. The 40s folks is about 75% of either of those years and upticks in line with the sub 20 breakdowns. The towns most affected in the July/August delta rush have been the well to do towns - Weston, Wellesley, Cambridge (by quantity, not by rate), Southborough, Sudbury, etc... I call this out because these are usually the wealthiest areas in MA. My postulation is that these folks had the means to go elsewhere, did so, and have brought back the deeper seeds of Delta into this state. Likewise the 20 somethings have a lot less risk and have flocked to social areas where they haven't had access in almost a year (i.e. bars with no restrictions and the Where's Waldo events like Lalapalooza.) Maybe I'm wrong here but these two groups - the young, and those with money to travel - are the points of entry into the second highest fully vaccinated state in the US.

Now that it is here - in sufficient magnitude it is going to dig its tendrils into surrounding communities and when it hits the poorer ones it is going to continue to be a mess. I am from a state where I think there are folks concerned about the overall public health policy - and I tell you, it is going to get ugly BEFORE the kids go back to school at the end of the month. As I said, I'm in the 2nd highest vaccinated state in the US, and I can't even imagine the lack of safety in a state (GA) that is currently the 45th vaccinated state. CDC or not, there are too many people in GA that have conflated personal rights and public policy with political identity that I would not go to a place where I could encounter people if I had a choice.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:06 PM on August 8, 2021 [23 favorites]

Response by poster: I am pretty set on not going so I hadn't even thought this through but if I went I would do a 14 day quarantine afterwards, etc etc. I am in a pretty good position if I did get infected though I definitely don't want to be. But phew. I needed some people to yell that I was NOT overreacting to not go. Due to non-COVID stuff that is probably the better choice this year anyway but it's very comforting to know that the situation is 100% bad enough to make the choice on COVID risk alone. Thanks all.
posted by clarinet at 4:07 PM on August 8, 2021 [18 favorites]

Best answer: Re: self selecting groups, everyone I know who was planning to go has cancelled. You're certainly not alone in making that decision.
posted by Stacey at 6:00 PM on August 8, 2021 [8 favorites]

Best answer: As a data point as far as how people are acting at cons, there was just one of the largest security conferences that while it required everyone be masked in the con areas had a ton of people posting pictures of being unmasked in crowded casinos, including some people I know who've been really good about wearing them other places. I think people are desperate for normalcy and being in a big, fun, beloved huge social crowd is going to increase the rate of people making risky decisions.
posted by Candleman at 10:04 PM on August 8, 2021 [8 favorites]

Long time volunteer and attendee here. My roommate and I (also a volunteer) canceled on Friday and another volunteer did as well. I am trying to offload our room but am fairly resolved to it being a $1500 loss. It is just not worth the risk at this point. A friend who lives in the Greater Atlanta area just got it and he cannot figure out how.
posted by Crocosaurus at 12:53 AM on August 9, 2021 [5 favorites]

I have a ticket for it (rolled over from last year) and there's no way I'm going until 2022 at the earliest. Covid is not going to be done kicking our butts for a while yet.

I miss that convention so much!! I want to see all of my friends from all over the place and spend a week with others of my geeky tribe!! But...naw, I'm not going this year. The con isn't going away any time soon, even if it has less than 20% attendance this year.
posted by Tailkinker to-Ennien at 9:38 AM on August 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Hope your friend feels better Crocosaurus. And yeah, great point Candleman. Everyone will be looser than usual (and if history holds, drinking. Haha).
posted by clarinet at 9:45 AM on August 9, 2021

I’ve been to RiotFest (except last year of course) every summer for AGES and, even though it’s outside, won’t be making the trip to Chicago. Let’s do the safest thing and all hope for next year!
posted by cyndigo at 9:04 AM on August 12, 2021

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