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Visalia’s Fox Theatre seems determined to play host to a Covid-19 super-spreader event

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The Visalia Times-Delta’s James Ward sounds the alarm with a baffling, scary story about an event booked next weekend at the Visalia Fox Theatre:

In a Dec. 9 Facebook post by the Visalia Fox promoting a comedy concert by Frankie Quinones, a flyer announced vaccination cards or proof of a negative COVID-19 test would not be required to attend because the event is limited to 950 people.

The California Department of Public Health guidelines requires venue operators of any indoor event with 1,000 or more people to restrict unvaccinated people from attending without a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours. By limiting the concert to 950 people, Visalia Fox managers and event promoters can avoid the COVID-19 safety requirements for 1,000 people or more events.

This in a county, let me remind you, in which only 49% of people living in Tulare County are fully vaccinated as of Dec. 5. And it’s next door to another county (Kings) that has an even lower vaccination rate and some of the highest COVID-19 rates in the state.

Which means that if you put 950 folks in an enclosed space for a couple of hours and make them breathe each other’s air, it’s likely the perfect environment for the always-on-the-prowl Mr. Covid to go a-findin’ some new lungs to hang out in.

Neither the promoters nor representatives of Quinones would comment.

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As Ward notes in his story, November’s 120-plus person COVID-19 related death toll marks the third-highest month in fatalities since the pandemic started in March 2020. During the height of the deadly winter surge, monthly death tolls were 192 in January and 163 in February. Health officials have previously told the Times-Delta/Advance-Register about 90% of COVID-19 deaths were in unvaccinated people.

I know that getting vaccinated for COVID-19 has become relentlessly conflated with partisanship, stubbornness, individuality and a bunch of other reasons that, frankly, don’t seem worth dying for on close examination. (Especially if you’re happily measles- and polio-free, in which case you need to name your cats Cognitive and Dissonance.) But turning a petri dish for disease transmission into a marketing effort to sell concert tickets seems a particularly crass and calculating move. Are the promoters hoping to attract the non-vaxxed crowd because they think it better fits their desired demographic for this show? Perhaps that’s the case from a profit-and-loss standpoint. After all, the money’s already in the bank by the time that intubation tube goes in.


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Covering the arts online in the central San Joaquin Valley and beyond. Lover of theater, classical music, visual arts, the literary arts and all creative endeavors. Former Fresno Bee arts critic and columnist. Graduate of Columbia University and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Excited to be exploring the new world of arts journalism.

donaldfresnoarts@gmail.com

Comments (1)

  • Amelia Ryan

    We’re going to have our very own super-spreader event right here in Fresno at the Tower Theatre. On December 17, just in time for Christmas, the Tower Theatre welcomes Dr. Peter McCullough on “Everything COVID…Follow the Science,” emceed by Guillermo Moreno of KXEX, with special guest Kevin Cookingham “on school mandates.” Yes, the Tower Theatre is inviting anti-vaxers to mix and mingle with a doctor from Texas who is going to talk on Covid and “the gene therapies loosely referred to as vaccines.” Tickets are free, although there is a suggested donation. Let’s all pretend the ICU wards aren’t already full. What can go wrong?

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