While researchers and scientists are currently seeking a COVID-19 cure that has infected millions of lives worldwide, a new report has appeared online that indicates CES 2020 could have played a part in transmitting the novel coronavirus. The 53rd edition of this year’s annual trade show, which is the largest tech exhibition in the world, took place in Las Vegas from January 7 to January 10.
Michael Webber, a professor at Texas University, Austin, was among those who became sick shortly after visiting CES 2020. While the professor was not initially aware of the disease and is completely recovered from the severe flu he had in January, his test results were received earlier this week by him that showed the existence of antibodies for the novel coronavirus, states APM Reports.
The existence of these antibodies indicates Webber was already infected with the novel coronavirus. After a successful infection has been resisted by the human body, the antibodies produced by the immune system linger in the bloodstream for future infections.
Inaccurate testing methods
It is important to realize here that false positives are something COVID-19 testing has had to deal with, like antibody tests, and the accuracy of different test methods differs. It is probable however that the antibodies detected by Webber’s blood may have nothing to do with coronavirus. In addition, Webber’s test was approved by the Chinese equivalent of the US Food and Drug Administration’s (US FDA), and not by the US FDA itself. There is no way to say if Webber got COVID-19 at CES 2020 itself even though the test is accurate.
Having said that, after CES 2020, Webber was not the only one who was feeling ill. Several other people, after attending the same event, have tweeted about similar flu infections.
Webber also stated in a tweet he posted after returning from CES at Las Vegas airport that he had noticed several signs of an “infirmary” in the lounge. Nevertheless, he originally speculated that the cause could be “hard-partying” or inadequate ventilation.
Lack of awareness caused the spread
CES happened at the beginning of January. It was the time when the novel coronavirus was nothing more than a part of the tales that had arrived from China. It emerged in China in Wuhan city as a respiratory virus. Although on December 8th the first case of the disease caused by the new virus was reported in Wuhan, some sources say that it might have been in circulation in November.
There was not much international awareness of the disease until late January. On January 29, the White House Coronavirus Task Force was formed by the US government.
There were no travel restrictions because of a lack of awareness and more than 100 people from Wuhan attended CES. There have also been handshakes and hugs-just as normal-at the event. Similarly, the place had seen numerous interactions and meetings in close quarters at the venue.
The Consumer Technology Association, the industry body behind CES, said in a statement to Digital Trends that there was no evidence to underline COVID-19’s spread from the event.
“CES attendees’ health, safety and security are a high concern and each year we take steps to secure our guests. We are not aware of any confirmed COVID-19 cases that are related to CES 2020. And we haven’t heard from any health authorities, federal departments, or private institutions claiming that one of our attendees has been exposed to the virus,” said the statement.