Miamis Bitcoin Conference May Be the Latest Covid-19 Super Spreader Event

Illustration for article titled Miami's Bitcoin Conference May Be the Latest Covid-19 Super Spreader Event

Photo: Marco Bello (Getty Images)

Several crypto fans that descended on Miami, Florida, last weekend for the largest bitcoin conference in history are now saying they’ve tested positive for covid-19.

Larry Cermak, research director at the cryptocurrency news outlet the Block, said on Twitter Thursday that while he hadn’t personally tested positive, “everyone” whom he hung out with in Miami during the three-day Bitcoin 2021 conference. Several purported screenshots circulating on the platform showed other attendees announcing that they had since tested positive for the virus. “Looks like I’m joining the BTC Miami covid list,” said cryptocurrency podcaster Luke Martin in a now-deleted tweet, according to a screenshot shared by Cryptowhale, the pseudonym of a leading cryptocurrency financial analyst.

It’s little wonder the conference is starting to look more and more like a possible super spreader event given that 1) there was no mask mandate or proof of vaccination requirement to attend; 2) some 12,000 people packed into the convention center; and 3) Florida is one of five states that never implemented a statewide face mask requirement throughout the pandemic and was among the first to throw covid-19 restrictions out the window. While part of the event was held outside, attendees still crowded into auditoriums, private house parties, and other networking events with nary a mask in sight, Bloomberg reports.

“Vaccines have been freely available for months in the US, to the extent that anyone who wanted to be vaccinated could do so by the time of the event,” Bitcoin 2021 organizer BTC Media said in a statement to the outlet. “We provided all attendees with the current recommendations of the CDC and State of Florida and expressed to our audience that those who were high risk or hadn’t been vaccinated should consider waiting until next year.”

BTC Media did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s questions about what health precautions, if any, were in place last weekend.

The jury’s still out on how many people may have contracted the virus or if Bitcoin 2021 will ultimately be labeled as a super spreader event. As of Tuesday, Florida now reports its tally of covid-19 cases and fatalities on a weekly basis rather than daily. The state pointed to rising vaccination rates to justify the move, adding that Florida “is transitioning into the next phase” of its pandemic response. This past week’s report has yet to be released. Nationwide, the current seven-day average of daily news cases is 14,349, a roughly 35% decrease compared to the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.