RI’s Black Friday Crowds Ignore Warnings - Is It Next Superspreader Event

Friday, November 27, 2020

 

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Black Friday 2020 at Walmart Providence PHOTO: GoLocal

Shoppers were lined up by the dozens at Providence’s Walmart before the store's Black Friday opening time of 5:00 AM.

With a handful of Walmart staffers outside the building, maybe 100 deal-seekers were queued up at the front door and down the side of the big-box retailer.

As the doors opened Walmart staff let shoppers in one-by-one.

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Health Warnings

For public health experts, it is another event that needed to take a year off.

Dr. Michael Fine has repeatedly said that this unnecessary congregation of people during the pandemic creates the environment for massive spread and infection.

Fine, the former Rhode Island Director of Health said on GoLocal LIVE on Wednesday, “I hope people stay home on Friday too. Because I'm just as worried about Friday as I am about [Thanksgiving]."

"You know I don't think we ought to be seeing lines of people in front of big box stores. Maybe this is our materialism coming home to roost but this is a time to sort of think about Thanksgiving and think about people -- not think about stuff," he said. 

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Black Friday shoppers lined up around the Walmart PHOTO: GoLocal

But for many, the deals won out. The deals include a Samsung 65’ marked down from $549.99 to $478.00. A good deal, but hardly worth a trip to Rhode Island Hospital’s COVID unit or the ICU.

 

 

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Walmart, Providence PHOTO: GoLocal

The Impact Will Be Know Soon

In the next few days, those who gathered with people for Thanksgiving or went out shopping may begin to develop the symptoms from the virus as they were infected by family members or fellow shoppers. Within as soon as a  week after a portion will seek medical care and need hospitalizations.

In Rhode Island, Governor Gina Raimondo has known the gravity of Rhode Island's situation for weeks -- if not months -- as it has been hit with the "second wave."

The state is now in the "severe" outbreak category on COVID ActNow -- not just the "active" outbreak status as it has for weeks -- but Raimondo insisted on waiting to implement a partial shutdown starting this coming Monday. 

For Rhode Island, more hospitalizations means bad news as all COVID beds across the state are now full according to Raimondo's announcement on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Rhode Island reported 10 additional COVID-19 related fatalities, and that 357 Rhode Islanders are now hospitalized due to coronavirus, with 35 in the ICU.

“If we don’t take it seriously — we will have to turn patients away. It’s not a threat but a mathematical reality,” said Raimondo, of the upcoming partial shutdown of certain segments of the economy ordered by the state -- but not on Black Friday. 

Shoppers were lined up by the dozens at Providence’s Walmart before the store's Black Friday opening time of 5:00 AM.

With a handful of Walmart staffers outside the building, maybe 100 deal-seekers were queued up at the front door and down the side of the big-box retailer.

 
 

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