The Good News From Lollapalooza Music Festival About COVID


Lollapalooza certainly looked scary from above. The Chicago music festival, held at the end of July, brought footage of enormous crowds of people squashed together, presumably shouting and singing and generally spraying aerosols:

Now, however, health officials in Chicago are saying that Lollapalooza does not appear to have been a superspreader event, as some feared it would be.

Out of nearly 400,000 people who attended the festival, just 203 tested positive for the virus, as NBC Chicago reported. The vast majority of people at the event—at least 88 percent—were vaccinated. While the case numbers include breakthrough cases (127 of them), festivalgoers who were unvaccinated were four times as likely to be among those cases.

Yes, it’s possible that those people spread the virus to others after the event, and that testing and self-reporting missed some cases; we also still don’t really know how breakthrough infections connect to long COVID. But this news has to be taken as good, because the numbers from Lollapalooza seem to confirm that the delta variant is not a fundamentally different virus from the one we’ve been enduring since last spring.