A weekend of concerts by rapper Bad Bunny has been connected with over 2,000 cases of COVID-19. The rapper – whose real name is Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio – performed to a packed stadium on the nights of Friday, Dec. 10 and Saturday, Dec. 11 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. According to a report by local newspaper El Nuevo Dia, at least 2,005 positive coronavirus cases have now been linked to the performances.
El Nuevo Dia's report on Friday was picked up for English-language readers by Newsweek, who spoke to Puerto Rico's Office of Epidemiology as well. Officials said that they have confirmed 2,005 COVID patients either attended Bad Bunny's concert or came into contact with someone else who did shortly afterward. They are warning not only about the severity of this particular outbreak, but of its implications for other concerts and major events around the world. However, Puerto Rico in particular is struggling with the omicron variant.
And it’s worth noting, it was an OUTDOOR concert.— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) December 25, 2021
The surge in new COVID-19 cases in many parts of the world right now is due to the omicron variant – a mutation of the novel coronavirus which scientists believe is more transmissible than previous strains. In the course of two weeks, Puerto Rico's average daily cases shot up from about 100 per day to about 5,148 per day, according to a report by The New York Times. El Nuevo Dia reported that 92% of the new cases documented in Puerto Rico were omicron variant cases last week.
The statistics are similar on the mainland U.S., where public health officials are now documenting an average of 200,000 new cases per day. The director of the National Institute of Health, Francis Collins, warned that that number is climbing, and is on pace to reach as high as 1 million cases per day if steps aren't taken to slow the spread once again.
"I know people are tired of this," Collins told NPR. "I'm tired of it too, believe me. But the virus is not tired of us. It's having a great old time changing its shape every couple of months, coming up with new variants and figuring out ways to be even more contagious. Even if it has a somewhat lower risk of severity, we could be having a million cases a day if we're not really attentive to all of those mitigation strategies."