Covid risk right now?
July 27, 2023 5:10 PM   Subscribe

What is the risk of getting Covid from an indoor concert right now while immunocompromised?

Concert is in Boston, 3,500 capacity venue (Roadrunner) and a sold out show. Plan would be to stand in back as far away from people as possible, wear a N95 mask, not drink anything and stay away from the bathroom.
posted by floweredfish to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
According to wastewater numbers, Covid case numbers are up and continuing to increase in the northeastern US. As a fellow immunocompromised person, I wouldn't risk it.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:29 PM on July 27, 2023 [15 favorites]

My in-laws went on a fucking cruise to Alaska, and then stopped by on their way home.

MIL and FIL both got it, and Ms. Windo, who hugged her mom several times also got it. I still wear a mask anytime I interact with the public. If I were immunocompromised, I wouldn't touch that with a ten foot pole. It is still out there...
posted by Windopaene at 5:40 PM on July 27, 2023 [6 favorites]

We just don't have any good data except wastewater, and yes, that data suggests rising numbers. For whatever anecdata is worth to you, this is certainly leaps and bounds beyond what the immunocompromised people in my life currently find a reasonable risk to take. But when they do really have to do something risky they wear p100s, so if you really want to go, one option might be upgrade your mask.
posted by Stacey at 5:48 PM on July 27, 2023 [4 favorites]

If you're immunocompromised please ask your doctor! Ask Metafilter cannot give medical advice.
posted by capricorn at 5:51 PM on July 27, 2023 [19 favorites]

Is it worth getting sick and never getting better? No? Don’t go. We are going into another surge with no proper testing, no masking, no one getting vaccinated. People are actively going to concerts and traveling knowing they have Covid.
posted by Crystalinne at 5:57 PM on July 27, 2023 [6 favorites]

Best answer: There are really three layered questions in this, I think:

How much chance of exposure will there be? (Answer: lots; there is near-certainty that multiple people in the audience will have covid and it will be in the air.)

What is your chance of catching it? (Answer: pretty low if you mask effectively, but still greater than zero.)

What are the consequences if you do catch it? This is the key question and anyone answering that here is just guessing. "Immunocompromised" covers a lot of ground from mild to severe, people are of various ages and health backgrounds -- there just isn't a solid answer in the abstract. Most people, even immune compromised, have mild cases, but that's no guarantee.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:58 PM on July 27, 2023 [26 favorites]

COVID can cause neurological changes that make your cognitive function that of someone who is 10 years older than your chronological age.

eg a 40 year old's brain works like a 50 year olds brain

is your concert worth that risk?
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 7:07 PM on July 27, 2023 [3 favorites]

Here are the Boston wastewater numbers.

It's hard to know what the absolute risk numbers are. Ways to protect yourself include:

wear an N99 or P100 respirator, which provide greater protection than N95 -- you could even invest in a PAPR if this show is that meaningful to you! A P100 costs like $35-40 in the US right now and is reusable so it's probably a good investment for you, and the Klein Tools/GVS Ellipse model doesn't get in the way of peripheral vision as much as other P100s do.

bring a CO2 monitor and use it to help you find the best-ventilated areas (probably the least crowded but sometimes HVAC systems surprise us), or decide when to graduate from N95 to a higher-filtration respirator, or when to stand outside the venue

use a mouthwash with certain ingredients immediately after the show

enter the world of prophylactic nasal sprays

I wish you well in figuring out whether/how you can go to this concert.
posted by brainwane at 7:07 PM on July 27, 2023 [9 favorites]

Just chiming in to point out that people who did that and didn't get sick are less likely to comment. You can always see if you can find Covid rates for similar big shows.

I'm immunocompromised with fibromyalgia. I avoid unnecessary risks, but sometimes my soul needs a concert so much that it's worth it. Especially if the numbers in your area are pretty moderate. I personally would probably go and take those precautions, but of course you're not me and your diagnosis may be totally different.

Also, is there a chance you could get an accommodation? If there's something that would make it less risky for you, just ask the venue in advance.
posted by mermaidcafe at 7:33 PM on July 27, 2023 [11 favorites]

Best answer: I am immunosuppressed (autoimmune arthritis, with Humira) and my rheumatologist cleared me for the occasional concert with N95s here in Dallas. I have been to a few shows in the last year in both indoor/outdoor and fully indoor arena venues and AFAIK not come away with COVID.

Like mermaidcafe, sometimes I just need to go and be where the music is and it's worth it for me to take that risk. YMMV.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 8:22 PM on July 27, 2023 [10 favorites]

Yeah it’s really a risk-reward calculation that none of us can calculate. If catching it = 100% death tomorrow with your level of immunocomprimization (is that a word?) vs 1% maybe minor complications with your level of immunocomprimization, we can’t know from the information provided.

I am not immunocomprimized, and I live in a very high density city. I’ve taken average precautions throughout pandemic, and basically none outside of international travel in the last six months. I caught Covid the once just this year, the symptoms were average-mild, and I recovered well.

My general experience seems common.

posted by greta simone at 10:14 PM on July 27, 2023

tl;dr: talk to your physician
posted by greta simone at 10:22 PM on July 27, 2023 [2 favorites]

Yeah it’s really a risk-reward calculation that none of us can calculate.

I'm not immunocompromised, but I am sixty-four, so I try to stay on top of risk stats. Unfortunately, I'm not finding anything definitive lately. Covid is obviously still with us. What's not clear is how dangerous it is ... for me, or you.

We just don't know.

I'm not immunocompromised but no way would I go to a "... 3,500 capacity venue and a sold out show" ... unless it's Led Zeppelin reuniting, or Neutral Milk Hotel.

We just don't know. It’s really a risk-reward calculation that none of us can calculate.
posted by philip-random at 10:42 PM on July 27, 2023 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You can play with some numbers in the Microcovid calculator to better understand factors that would lead to greater or lesser exposure and transmission risk, such as your mask, the duration of the activity (e.g., maybe skip the headliner and just show up for the featured act), and how close other people are to you. I used the "medium" pre-set for local prevalence (akin to the US in late 2021, pre-Omicron) but you might want to raise that based on your assessment of how transmissible current variants are, and whether the people going to this event are likely to be people travelling from higher-prevalence areas.

When I plugged in some numbers reflecting some assumptions I drew from your question and some suggestions in this thread, I got the result "Dangerously high Risk".
posted by brainwane at 12:51 AM on July 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

Have you fit tested the mask you are planning to wear? Even an elastomeric (like the GVS Eclipse) can slip and leak. I have some info on masks and testing on my lately neglected site.
Gerard Hughes does fit testing using a Portacount particle tester. While he has not done a video on it, he tested the Trend Air Stealth Lite Pro Respirator, a P99 mask, it passed, but on his face was not comfortable. This has become my everyday mask.
Properly fitted mask and eye protection (eyes are theorised to be a portal of entry) should keep you reasonably safe. If you want to drink there's sipmask which can be installed.
posted by Sophont at 1:40 AM on July 28, 2023 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks all. I ended up not going BUT Mr. Fish insisted and did go :(. He is healthy, vaccinated, masked with a N95 and stood in the back with other masked folks. However, now I’m terrified he caught it and brought it home. I’m trying to get him to keep his distance and have air purifiers cranked. Gah.
posted by floweredfish at 1:54 AM on July 28, 2023 [6 favorites]

Best answer: Just for others to weight in the future (and to maybe reassure you):

The risks are non-zero and there are also risks of illnesses that aren’t COVID, but the medical professionals I see (and those of several severely immune compromised people in my orbit) have said that it’s ok to ease up on caution for right now. The numbers are going up, but numbers are still very small overall. If you are very high risk I would also check the flu numbers in your area because they are currently much higher than COVID in many areas.

I am moderately immune compromised (on a biologic for psoriatic arthritis). I have been very careful for the last 3 years and there are some severely (cancer, organ transplant) immune compromised people in my orbit.

After consultation with my doctor, I have eased up on the socializing and restaurants a little bit lately and I have done more travel in the last 5 months than I had in the last 4 years. Please talk to your doctor and get you specific advice to calibrate your risk. (She also said that she would have different advice if I was severely immune compromised.) The severely immune compromised people in my orbit have also been given advice that they can ease up on caution within limits.

I am not saying to throw your masks away or throw caution to the wind, but if there is something that you would be very sad about missing out on or is a once in a lifetime opportunity, it may be worth the risk to you.

I probably wouldn’t do a concert because live concerts weren’t my jam pre-COVID but I did go to 2 professional conferences with around 800 people this month and go out to eat for a few meals with friends. I also wore my N95 unless I was eating (including to present). I also plan to lock down when I get home and to upgrade my mask for the fall. It’s ok to consider the balance of your risk and what you need to do to thrive.

Also if you are reading this and immune compromised, don’t forget to get your booster.
posted by eleanna at 1:48 PM on July 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I've been to a lot of concerts in the past two years, masked, and have never had Covid. However, I'm not immunocompromised, so I can't speak to that experience.

I never take off the mask, in fact, I actually didn't go to a concert tonight that I was looking forward to because I can't stay out in this weather without drinking water and I never take off my mask.
posted by betweenthebars at 6:07 PM on July 28, 2023 [2 favorites]

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