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Lollapalooza Wasn't a 'Super Spreader' Event, Say Chicago Health Officials

Lollapalooza
Gary Miller/FilmMagic

A view of the audience as the Foo Fighters perform on the last day of Lollapalooza at Grant Park on Aug. 1, 2021 in Chicago.

Following a Thursday morning press conference, Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner, Allison Arwady, took to Twitter to report the post-Lollapalooza COVID-19 case numbers so far.

"We are now 14 days past the first day of Lolla and we are continuing to investigate cases of COVID," Arwady wrote. "There have been no unexpected findings at this point and NO evidence at this point of 'super-spreader' event or substantial impact to Chicago’s COVID-19 epidemiology."

Lollapalooza reported last week that 90% of its attendees -- an estimated 385,000, not including crew, staff, artists and their teams across four days -- were vaccinated. Of those vaccinated, .0004% have reported testing positive, according to the CDPH. Of those who attended unvaccinated -- a negative COVID-19 test from no more than 72 hours prior to the festival was required for entry -- .0016% have reported testing positive. The CDPH also reported that as of Wednesday, Aug. 11, there have been no reported hospitalizations or deaths linked to those cases.

Arwady also shared that in all, there are 203 current total COVID-19 cases identified with Lollapalooza attendees, traced by system onset or test date if asymptomatic. Fifty-eight were Chicago residents, 138 were Illinois residents from outside Chicago, and seven reported cases were from out-of-state residents.

Despite the seemingly positive report, it hasn't yet been two full weeks since the final day of the festival (Sunday, Aug. 1). Plus, any attendee who may have been or continues to be asymptomatic may not have been tested. Additionally, there were no contact tracing elements or requirements to attend Lollapalooza. Billboard has reached out to the CDPH for comment on its tracing protocols.

These figures arrive at a time when live music -- and particularly the fall festival season -- are once again being called into question. Today, AEG announced that proof of full vaccination by audience members and event staff is required at any of its owned and operated clubs, theaters and festivals. Meanwhile, there's a Change.org petition circulating to cancel this year's Austin City Limits (scheduled for early October across two weekends), which is produced by C3, the same company behind Lollapalooza. So far, nearly 1,300 people have signed.