Connecticut has seen a rise of 200 coronavirus cases after it was revealed a 40th birthday gathering in the the state became ‘Party Zero’ and spread the disease around the world.
About 50 guests reportedly gathered on March 5 at a home in the wealthy suburb of Westport for a lavish buffet and celebration.
After the event, roughly half of those at the party became infected with COVID-19 and transmitted it to other US states and the rest of the world.
On Tuesday Governor Ned Lamont announced Connecticut had more than 200 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours.
The state’s total case count of infections is so far at 618 with 71 patients in hospital and 12 deaths.
During the press conference on Tuesday, Lamont criticized President Trump for suggesting the lockdowns imposed by many areas could be over a matter of weeks.
Main Street in Westport, Connecticut, where a party of around 50 people saw around half the guests infected with coronavirus
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont last week closed restaurants and public buildings statewide
Westport Museum was one of the landmarks closed as the state of Conecticut tried to halt the spread of coronavirus
He said: ‘You’re not going to get your economy back on its feet until we solve this public health crisis in a serious way.
‘So I don’t want to mislead people that, ”Hey it’s just going to be a couple weeks and then you can get back to business as usual”. That’s a mistake I think. The federal government has been sending the wrong message for too long.’
The steep rise in the state comes after it was revealed the 40th gathering in upmarket Westport was dubbed ‘party zero’ after many guests became infected at a time before the state recorded its first case.
According to the New York Times, guests left on March 5 for Johannesburg, New York City, other parts of Connecticut and the wider US.
One of the guests was a 43-year-old South African businessman who started to feel ill during his flight home.
He was later diagnosed with coronavirus and, after seeking medical advice, began contacting others at the party.
But it became impossible to trace all the other guests because so many people at the party had moved around the county and beyond.
Three days after the party, one of the guests woke up in Westport with chest pains, a fever that spiked to 104 degrees, and ‘felt like she was dying’.
Medical workers putting on fresh personal protective equipment (PPE) at a drive-thru coronavirus testing station at Cummings Park in Stamford, Connecticut, yesterday
Julie Endich wrote on Facebook in a lengthy post: ‘My journey started on March 8, 3 days after I attended an event with amazing friends.
‘I woke up that morning, with incredible chest pain, tightness and heaviness like someone was standing on my chest.
‘As the day went on I started to get body aches, chills, fever and headache. It hit me fast. It felt like the flu x 2!!! I couldn’t move, I was bedridden and my fevers were spiking to 104.’
She added it was four days before she could get test results confirming she had coronavirus.
On the day of the party Connecticut did not have a single recorded case of coronavirus, but as of today 10 people in the state have died with 415 infections.
More than 50 people currently are hospitalized with COVID-19 in Connecticut.
In Westport state officials say there have been 74 cases of infection.
The upmarket enclave remains the Connecticut community with the highest number of infections.
The Connecticut town with the second highest number is Greenwich, with less than half the number of patients.
Arpad Krizsan, who owns a financial advisory firm in Westport and lives in the community, told the Times: ‘They think at least 100 times as many people are infected as what the tests are showing. And everybody [in the town] goes to the same four shops.’
A health worker at a drive-thru coronavirus testing station at Cummings Park in Stamford, Connecticut, yesterday
Last week Govenor Ned Lamont closed restaurants and public buildings statewide and begged federal officials for hospital capacity and protective gear to help battle the virus.
In a video release on Friday, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe said the party’s hosts, attendees or others should not be vilified because the virus has simply spread so far too quickly.
Mark Cooper, director of the Westport Weston Health District, in a statement on Sunday: ‘The increasing number of positive cases is not surprising.
‘Last week the number of testing sites and the resulting number of tests being conducted increased significantly. The more testing that gets done, the more COVID19 will be found in Westport and Weston, and across the state. Everyone should assume it is everywhere.
‘Of those with confirmed cases in Connecticut, it is interesting to note that the 40 to 49 age group has the highest number of laboratory confirmed COVID19 cases. But no age group is spared, COVID19 can infect anyone.’
So far nationally there have been more than 54,000 cases of the virus in the US with more than 783 people have died.