Was Oshkosh a superspreader event? Of course it was.

As I wrote in a previous story, people who went on Oshkosh AirVenture in late July were taking the risk of flying home with an unwanted passenger – a case of COVID-19. And based only on anecdotal evidence, a lot people have had this experience.

A competing aviation press briefing asked this same question the other day, and there was, predictably, a storm of responses. Who knows, maybe that was the whole point of the play. And of course them. The question, even if you don’t like it, is worth asking, although the answer may not be what the asker anticipates.

Our point of view? At this point, we are adults, we recognize the risk and we felt that the biggest airshow in the world was worth it. I really felt like that.

I was one of the only people in the crowd to wear a mask the first few days, not because I was trying to avoid other people’s germs as much as I was protecting them from myself. My spouse came down with COVID after a trip to a conference which, like Oshkosh, was not to be missed, but I only found out about it when I was on the way to the show. I was upset that my Oshkosh AirVenture streak might be cut short at 30, but I tested negative twice before the first day of the show, so I attended and wore a mask the first two days until until I tested negative a third time, which I did on Monday night.

It’s doubtful that more than a handful of other people among the hundreds of thousands at OSH were so cautious, and at this point, that’s how it is. I know it, and if I choose to interact, I take the risk that the person I am chatting with is infected with the virus and may even know it, but has mild symptoms.

At this point, anyone who has been vaccinated and received a booster — I’m here and then others — has a very low risk of serious illness if they catch it. Some of us have a higher risk, but it’s still low, according to the CDC. And if you look at the number of infections from any of those trackers that are always monitoring the progression of the impact of the virus, you’ll notice that the numbers are low. That’s to say not because there are few cases but because few people report them.

At this point, let’s face it: life is a super-spreader event. If you go out and play with thousands of other people without social distancing or wearing a mask, people are going to get it. There was nothing special about Oshkosh in that regard, except maybe it was way more fun than your average superspreader event.