Las Vegas Casinos Could Trigger A New Covid-19 Outbreak

Image by Markus Spiske
Article by : Helen Aug 31, 2020

According to official figures, Las Vegas gambling houses have opened their doors since June 4. As stated by the governor of the state, the operators have taken all possible steps to ensure personnel and customers’ safety and block a possible outbreak of coronavirus.

However, such steps did not convince the journalists working in ProPublica. They believe the relaunching of gambling establishments is a bargain with the devil. These actions can easily provoke new outbreaks of the virus across the country. The news agency requested details on the movement of mobile owners who visited Las Vegas within 4 days. X-Mode and Tectonix assessed received data. They studied the travel patterns that visitors of the state made in mid-July.

Following the U.S. legal system, X-Mode has official permission to collect data on the movement of mobile owners who use various fitness applications and weather forecast services. This way, the company can track their locations. The research involved about 5% of mobile owners in the U.S. For its part, Tectonix studied the information obtained and compared it with the online map. The collected data shocked an epidemiologist and chief program officer, Oscar Alleyne.

According to Alleyne, visitors to Vegas have been very active after leaving the state. Perhaps this is one of the key reasons why the epidemiological situation is still at a high level. In 5 weeks after the opening of Las Vegas, the number of daily cases of coronavirus infection has increased more than 10 times. In total, over 4 days of research, researchers evaluated about 26,000 devices that visited Las Vegas and then left the state borders. Experts found that smartphone owners returned to almost all U.S. states within 4 days after leaving Las Vegas. The only exception was Maine. These data provide a clear indication that the frequent movement of Americans is one of the main reasons why the coronavirus pandemic is still raging.

The main problem is that if some of the gamblers who visited Las Vegas were infected with coronavirus, their return could cause new infection cases. It seems that the U.S. authorities will need to further implement a national program to track residents’ movements. This will allow to more quickly influence the worsening of the situation with Covid-19 and clearly understand the reasons for the virus’s outbreak in a particular state. Nevada’s government has mandated each gambling casino to take all comprehensive measures to ensure the visitors’ safety. Wearing a protective mask, as well as compulsory social distancing, were among the mandatory requirements. However, it seems that these measures will not be enough at all.

Due to massive coronavirus infection cases, it is almost hopeless to see a whole picture of what’s going on in real-time.

Kimberly Hertin, SNHD’s Disease Surveillance Supervisor

After 5 weeks since the Las Vegas casinos relaunched, the considerable number of Covid-19 cases has skyrocketed. Kimberly Hertin also stated that Covid-19 is a massive problem as the incubation period is about 2 weeks. By the time a person can detect any symptoms or test positive, they may have enough time to infect other residents. Thus, it is almost impossible to establish the exact focus of infection. The main problem, however, is that each states’ Health Departments are running to their limit. This means that the situation with new cases can get out of hand on any day. What’s more, some casinos in Vegas are only planning to reopen soon.


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