• A super-spreader caused 52 people in Washington to contract COVID-19
  • Experts are highlighting the importance of no large gatherings or super-spreading events
  • Mitigating measures like wearing of face masks and social distancing work against a super-spreader

A new report from the Skagit County Public Health in Washington revealed that it takes only one "super-spreader" for COVID-19 to infect dozens of people.

Following an investigation into how 52 out of 61 individuals from a choir practice got sick from the coronavirus in March, the report is now pinpointing the risks of being around a super-spreader. Health experts said that this report highlights the importance of avoiding large crowds amid this pandemic.

A super-spreader refers to one person who infects a large number of people in just one place or instance, also known as a super-spreading event. Aside from Washington, numerous super-spreading events around the world contributed to the acceleration of this public health problem into a global crisis.

Super-spreading events happen when there is an infected person or carrier who is very transmissible, within a densely populated setting. Activities like talking, singing, and even breathing in this environment raise the risks.

"It's kind of different for different diseases whether it's a person or an event, but for COVID, it would be more like an event," Dr. Jaline Gerardine of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine said.

Large gatherings are known as super-spreading events, which raise the risk for contracting COVID-19. Pixabay

"[The super-spreader] may not feel sick, but the infection has spread enough in their body that they're shedding virus and they're putting enough virus out there to infect other people," Dr. Justin Lessler of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said.

It was a super-spreader who caused South Korea's current spike in cases in recent days after the public celebrated its success for tackling COVID-19. A 29-year-old man went on an epic bar crawl after weeks of confinement, and he has, so far, infected 119 people, raising the country's total case count to 11,037 Friday.

Thus, experts continue to advise that limiting large gatherings may be the best prevention for super-spreading events. Mitigating measures like physical distancing, wearing of face masks, and holding small gatherings in well-ventilated areas are also effective against the super-spreader.