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Las Vegas Casinos: Major Hotbed for Coronavirus Spread

Tags: coronavirus, Las Vegas, ProPublica.
Posted on 25 August 2020 by "T".

In these unprecedented times, what happens in Vegas, doesn't stay in Vegas.

A cellphone data revealed that casinos in Las Vegas are a major hotbed for the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing has proved to be futile as tourists return to their homes across the nation.

Las Vegas casinos reopened on June 4, and have become a possible major hotbed for the transmission of the novel coronavirus, according to public health experts. If tourists get to return home and tests positive for COVID-19, then the act of contact tracing amid a pandemic is practically rendered useless in the event a huge outbreak arises.

ProPublica, "a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power", published a report last week describing how the popular tourist and gambling destination is making it difficult for health officials to monitor and make contact tracing effective.

The media outlet looked at cellphone travel patterns that were gathered in a specific place, which were analyzed by two companies that specialize in location data. The focus was on travel patterns of mobile devices that traveled at "pedestrian speeds" on the Las Vegas strip during the weekends in May, June and July.

In the month of May when Las Vegas casinos were not yet allowed to open, cellphone data revealed that most of those devices remained concentrated in the southwest region of the country.

However, when Nevada casinos were allowed to reopen on June 4, the device count on the Strip significantly doubled. Also, there was increased travel activity to and from major east coast and midwest cities.

By July, data showed that there was significant travel in and out of Las Vegas in every U.S. state.

Contact tracing, one of the pillars of stopping the pandemic, is a process where government officials keep track those who may have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. Then those people would have to get themselves tested as well, and take necessary measures to prevent it from spreading any further.

The process is done on a state level, which means it is impossible for officials to contact all those who may have been exposed to a positive case that made a trip to Las Vegas. In hypothesis, an outbreak in a Las Vegas casino would be really impossible to trace, given the traffic patterns seen in the study.

On the maps shown above, around 26,000 cellphones showed up on the Las Vegas Strip in a 4-day period in mid-July. Thousands of the same devices detected on the Strip were also located in the Southwestern United States and cities across the nation in the same four days, including every mainland state except Maine. Areas in orange show where devices were tracked. A deeper glow means more devices were concentrated in that area.

Clearly, casinos are high-risk areas for the spread of the virus, but in the re-opening process, these gambling properties have been adhering to the safety regulations imposed by government officials. Las Vegas casinos are operating at reduced capacity and have implemented stricter sanitation procedures in order to reduce the spread. For example, Wisconsin casinos have recently started using ultra-violet light systems in their ventilation systems to sanitize recirculated air.



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10 comments on "Las Vegas Casinos: Major Hotbed for Coronavirus Spread"

 dule-vu26/08/2020 15:06:43 GMT
everything that some of us talked in last months,we can see in this news and we were right!it was just not enough to open casinos and to have only people who work in casinos to have masks and gloves and then people walk trough casino and seat on tables and they dont have anything!it was just stupid move and now they will have more problems!
 CALICUL26/08/2020 16:40:52 GMT
In Las Vegas on that heat this virus could not even live (especially to spread). I do not understand why people are so indifferent and do not have courage to talk about these lies. People must to work & have a life like before Covid 19. Power is in our hands if we know how to use it ...
 geseco1230/08/2020 15:14:06 GMT
bueno cada uno tiene diferentes opiniones pero para mi todabia deberian guardar distancia y ser consientes de esta enfermedad que es mortal, se deben cerrar algunos casinos que no cumplan las normas establecidas por el gobierno.
 antonis32130/08/2020 17:16:39 GMT
Winconsin casinos are a good example to follow . As the news say , they sanitise recirculated air in thei casinos , with the new devices they have installed in their properties , so as to add one more effective measure in the fight against this virus . All other poker rooms and casinos in the region , also everywhere else , should do the same . Take the initiative to add more security measures , they don't have to wait to be obliged to do so by government's offical health committees .
 CALICUL31/08/2020 18:25:46 GMT
Hygiene and safety measures must be taken everywhere, but not with a mask / scanner. Such a thing is unacceptable & cannot be in this way because these things destroy human immunity. We are led by garbage politicians who are paid with our money and they make fun of many lives.
 antonis32131/08/2020 19:11:56 GMT
These photos show the high concetration of peoplein these areas where casinos are located . Nothing new or unexpected I would add , pretty normal, from the moment that they allowed casinos to reopen . I believe , if casinos follow strict measures for the safety of their personnel and players , there woul be no problems , risks will be minimised .
 dule-vu01/09/2020 19:08:08 GMT
but there are no measures for people that come in casino,we all know what news and pictures we had from las vegas!we see only dealers with masks and gloves,but you can see players that normally play without anything,because nobody force them to have anything from this!people in bar,restaurant or lobby at casino dont have anything and they can walk as much as they want!you must then make measures for everybody!
 CALICUL01/09/2020 20:53:41 GMT
I believe that hygiene should be maintained in every place of a casino where is possible, because all that needs to be done is for clean with sanitary alcohol. In the toilet with specific products. Nothing else about it. Covid 19 is tiny and i haven't seen people on street falling on floor...
 antonis32101/09/2020 21:52:49 GMT
They have the technology , they have the money to add new measures , new installments , new devices , to sanitise the air inside these closed rooms in their casinos , to check the clients' and personnel body temperature at the entrances and exits , they can impose to all people obligatory use of masks or else throw them out of their properties , just to show that they are not kidding , they are not playing with people safety , they prioritise it as the most important thing .

So then , even the larger number of newcomers , visitors , tourists , willbe able to deal with , keep it under control and efficient supervision Or else yes , things might go out of control , that would not be true , but I firmly believe this will not happen, as long casinos , all businesses be 100% serious and strict about the restrictions and the health security measures , nowadays in these CVID-19 crisis times , they can be a model and example for evey business to follow , instead of being in the centre of the bad , ill-intentioned criticism .......
 CALICUL02/09/2020 21:35:23 GMT
In bars, restaurants, casinos etc... cleanliness must be kept. This is obvious and indisputable. The problem is that Covid 19, through which humanity has been manipulated rudely, without shame and with a gross insensitivity.

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