Going to a fair during a Pandemic - Delta Variant, animals, and me.
August 14, 2021 3:52 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone know how I should attend the WA State Fair safely, during a pandemic, and with a sharp rise in the Delta Variant? Anyone know info about the Delta Variant and animals? What about the Delta Variant and throngs of unmasked people, both inside and outside?

Some points about the Fair and I:

I am fully vaccinated with Pfizer, and I got my second dose in early April.

I'd be commuting down and back, from Seattle, via public transportation.
I believe in masks, and I have high quality masks that I wear 100% when outside my apartment. Because of Smoke Season, I have some unvalved N95 masks from 3M that I can easily wear.

When I go to the Fair, I enjoy the 4-H agricultural animal exhibits the most - which involves sitting for hours on bleacher sitting in drafty barns, enjoying my food, and watching 4-H members from around the state present their animals for judging. Dog Agility especially is my jam, and I can watch that for *days*. I'll also be near farm animals.

However, I also like roaming inside the various buildings, looking at the exhibits there.

Last but not least, I might want to take in the Rodeo, which will be outside seating, but possibly crowded. I have no interest in any of the rides.

The WA State Fair isn't going to require masks, nor being vaccinated, in order to attend - though they are also going to follow CDC guidance on this: https://www.thefair.com/covid-19-statement/. However, because it's the State Fair, there's going to be people coming in from around the entire state of Washington, including areas that have low vaccination rates - especially the people coming in for the 4-H competitions. Not to mention, that many of the attendants will probably be maskless/vaccine less, and are proud of that fact.

It also doesn't help that WA State is having a spike of Delta Variant infections right now, and according to Covid Act Now, is in the 'Very High' risk category: https://covidactnow.org/us/washington-wa/?s=21711097.

I'm asking this because I'm torn between just skipping it because the risk is too high, or attending, as I am both vaccinated and will be masked. I'm hoping here that others can give me guidance.
posted by spinifex23 to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you think a lot of attendees will be unvaccinated (and it sounds like you do?) it would probably be wise to skip it.
posted by cakelite at 3:54 PM on August 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Are you in close contact with immunocompromised people? Are you generally healthy? You might get COVID, but you probably won’t die from it. You might kill someone else though.
posted by FencingGal at 4:00 PM on August 14, 2021 [9 favorites]

Can you self-quarantine afterwards to try to make sure you don't spread anything you might catch there?
posted by doift at 4:13 PM on August 14, 2021

Best answer: Lane County, OR is experiencing an outbreak because of the county fair so even though I love the fair I'm passing this year.
posted by fiercekitten at 4:32 PM on August 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Friend, the WA state fair is one of several things I have decided not to do…again…. I love the fair. I wanted to enter some competitions for the first time this year. I am pissed off and tired of COVID. But I’m not going. And neither should you.

If you DO go, you should not take public transportation. You could reduce your risk considerably by getting a Lyft both ways (if you can find one) or borrowing or renting a car. You should go on a weekday, early, when it’s not crowded. You shouldn’t do anything fun like eat fair food (requires removing mask) or go to an exciting music event (crowded, people singing along) or go on any rides where people might be yelling in excitement.

So yeah. This sucks.
posted by bq at 4:34 PM on August 14, 2021 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you, all, for the answers.

Yeah, I'm going to skip it. Much too much of a risk for some fair food and watching animals. I had a bad feeling about the state fair this year, but I thought that there'd be some way to pull it off safely. Looks like there's not.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:45 PM on August 14, 2021 [10 favorites]

Best answer: I'm glad you're happy with your choice!

In the future, I do recommend microcovid.org - the creators of it are overcautious in their estimates, in general.

In this case, I punched in my estimates of the state fair, and it suggests a roughly 12% chance of you, personally getting covid doing this activity. Which is crazy, because you're vaccinated (over 85% immunity still applies to Delta depending on the study). I'm as lax about covid as it gets and that's too high for me!
posted by bbqturtle at 7:01 PM on August 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thanks for asking this question. I've been agonizing over whether to go but...both Monroe and Puyallup are where they are. I'm just sick about not being able to go to Puyallup, and I'm not even that worried about Delta myself but it's just the right thing to do and this helped me put it in perspective. :-(
posted by kitten kaboodle at 1:42 PM on August 15, 2021 [3 favorites]

FWIW I'm planning to go to a state fair this summer.

I'm vaccinated but I work in a field where I'll likely have to work in proximity to unvaccinated people, imperfectly masking. I have very little control over my exposure. OTOH, I don't have any comorbidities and I don't live with or regularly see anyone who is vulnerable or even too young to be vaccinated. From where I'm sitting it seems like it's a matter of when, not if, I get the Delta variant, and I might as well get it from doing something fun as from going to work.
posted by Salamandrous at 11:01 AM on August 16, 2021

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