Sunday, June 20, 2021
Sunday, June 20, 2021

COVID at the Quartzsite RV Show? One man’s unfortunate story

By Russ and Tiña De Maris
When we published stories prior to this year’s Quartzsite RV Show, we received mixed reactions. Many of our readers said they’d stay away from the big show, fearing opening themselves to a COVID-19 infection. Others scoffed, with a “have no fear” attitude – some even questioning the reality of COVID. Was it really possible to get COVID at the Quartzsite RV Show?

Town approved

“Every January something happens that is hard to believe, unless you have seen it! According to the Arizona Highway Department, as many as 750,000 to 1,000,000 people, mostly in RV’s, converge on this sleepy little desert town, located just 20 miles east of the California border on Interstate 10, for the rock, gem and mineral shows, plus numerous flea markets and the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show.” So reads promotional material for the show, which has been running more than 40 years.

Picture, if you will, a huge circus-like tent, filled with throngs of show-goers. These eagerly peruse wares and services pointed largely at the RVing public. It’s been that way for seeming ages. But when COVID-19 popped up early last year, one of the first questions that came with it: What will become of the Quartzsite RV Show? The answer came in August. We wrote that show promoter, Kenny King, and his co-promoter, daughter Kimmy King, declared the show would go on. Safety precautions would be taken, and the final approval would still have to come from the town’s government.

How big?

How big an event is the show? By Kenny King’s estimate, the January 2020 show (just prior to the US COVID-19 outbreak) was close to 150,000 people. The show runs a total of nine days, and by the Kings’ estimates, the first day of the show is probably the day of the largest draw. They acknowledged this when, as part of this year’s safety protocols, they posted information on social media to show-goers to NOT come on the first day, if possible.

Show safety protocols, according to a permit request to the Town of Quartzsite, included “mandatory face coverings” for all connected to the show, including vendors and attendees alike. Aisles through the big tent were widened and traffic limited to a single direction. Managers set up plastic dividers “between all exhibitors’ selling areas.” These and other measures were put in place to keep everyone secure. So, how well did that work out?

COVID at the show?

Mark Silver and his company, Industrial Lock & Hardware, [Disclaimer: They advertise with RVtravel.com] signed up for a vending area at the show this year, as he has done in the past. We contacted Mark, asking for his observations about the size of the crowd. We got a whole lot more information than we expected.

In terms of attendance, Mark wrote by email, “The show was noticeably smaller than normal years in exhibitors and attendance.” He figured there were probably a third fewer exhibitors. If the same held true for attendees, then a reasonable number to guess that came through the doors was in the neighborhood of 100,000 people over the nine-day run. Promotional material for the planned 2022 show says this year’s event drew from “100,000 to 150,000.”

If 100,000 visitors came to the show, and they were spread out evenly over the days, we’re talking about 11,000 people a day. But as Mark Silver observed, “Many times the show was crowded – the first few days for sure.” By his estimate, most people, probably 90%, observed the “face masks mandatory” rule. That leaves, say, 10% of 100,000 who didn’t: possibly 10,000 unmasked folks, milling around in fairly close quarters over the length of the show. Could someone get COVID at the Quartzsite RV Show?

“Deeply disappointed in myself”

Mark Silver says “yes” – someone could get COVID at the show. Writes Silver, “Being completely honest, I’m deeply disappointed in myself for attending, and upset that the show promoters allowed the show to open.” Why? “The truth is, I was infected during the show myself.” Silver tested positive for COVID-19 on January 27, three days after the show closed. “I wasn’t feeling great the last few days of the show,” he writes. “But I honestly thought I had the common Quartzsite crud that I get most years – Quartzsite is cold, dusty, and exhausting work – so I really didn’t think it was more than that.”

Mark’s wife, a registered nurse with 44 years’ experience, wasn’t feeling particularly well either. She contacted her primary care physician, and he recommended she get tested for COVID-19. Mark went with her. They both were tested: hers came back negative, his positive. Mark’s wife, as a nurse, had already received her COVID vaccine series; Mark had not. He’s now in isolation.

Followed safety protections

We asked Mark what he’d done to protect himself from COVID while at the show. Mark told us he’d stayed in his own RV, just a couple hundred feet from his booth. During his time in Quartzsite, prior to the show, he had little contact with other people. He also took a box of face masks with him to the show, and changed out to a new one each day, carefully wearing a mask at all times when at the show venue. He tells us he also used hand sanitizer constantly, and wiped his display products down with sanitizing wipes after show-goers touched them.

While there were indeed plastic dividers between vendor stalls, no such provision was made to fence off vendors from contact with show goers – that was a “recommendation” made by the show’s promoters, but not a mandate. Says Silver, “I tried to keep my distance, but it’s impossible to keep six feet apart at a trade show.”

Mantra: “Events are ongoing”

Prior to the opening of the show, we contacted Quartzsite officials regarding their views on the potential hazards of large crowds during a pandemic. Assistant Town Manager Cliff O’Neill put on a cheery face. “Events are all ongoing!” Pressed about the potential for disease transmission, O’Neill repeatedly told us that the town had reviewed the show’s safety protocols and that they were happy with them. “Events are ongoing,” he repeatedly told us, almost like a mantra.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Since Arizona state law requires local approval of events where more than 50 people are expected to attend, the show had to make official application, and receive approval before opening. Such was the case with the King family RV show. We’ve examined their application. In addition to a description of their safety plan, a question reads, “Anticipated Peak Attendance on Site at Any One Time:” Signatory to the application, Kimmy King, left this blank.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Interestingly, on the official summary page of the “List of Approved Organized Public Event Applicants,” the column that reads “Estimated Guests,” someone, presumably a Quartzsite official or town employee, entered “500/day.” If we (or a snooping state official) were to believe this, then the Quartzsite RV show would have had a maximum attendance of 4,500 people – far from reality.

Another “approved organized event” application we perused was for the Tyson Wells Sell-A-Rama. On his application, promoter Kym Scott did fill in the question regarding the anticipated attendance at any one time, listing “7,000 – 10,000.” On their official summary page, Quartzsite officials appear to have taken it on themselves to do a little editing. Here the town suggests “500+.”

What was town attempting to do?

CLICK TO ENLARGE

It begs a question: Just what were Quartzsite officials attempting to do? Scaling the numbers far back from reality could certainly make the chances of a “super-spreading” event appear far smaller. And it neatly covers its bases. Each event promoter is required to sign off on a “public event permit and hold harmless agreement.” Should anything, we mean anything, blow up, from personal injury to death to anyone at any event, the town is assured they can’t be held accountable.

COVID at the Quartzsite RV Show? Not a problem for the town, at least in terms of legal liability. You can find the approved list of applications here. Click on each “event name” to read the underlying permit application.

If Mark Silver’s unfortunate case of COVID-19 did, in fact, spring from some contact he made at the Quartzsite show, then what’s the likelihood that there are others who suffered a similar fate? Even health care workers who have the advantage of advanced personal protective gear, and who use it as directed, have come down with COVID.

Mark evidently took all the right steps to protect himself and still suffered. What about the possible 10,000 unmasked show-goers? Where do they stand? Could some of them, too, have gotten infected with COVID at the Quartzsite RV Show? And with their not wearing masks, how many more could they potentially expose? Time will tell. Meanwhile, we wish Mark Silver a speedy, complete and uneventful recovery from his illness.

Related

The Big Quartzsite RV Show: They have built it – will you come?
Quartzsite RV Show: Maybe there’s some hope for the safety-minded
Arizona – The Quartzsite RV Show must go on!

##RVT986b

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212 Comments
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Billy Vitro
4 months ago

If you ever find yourself feeling irrationally exuberant about the human race, go read the comments section of an Internet post. Where’s my popcorn?

bisonwings
4 months ago

What’s your point? People have contracted {bleeped} without contact with anyone for weeks.
The next issue is that masks don’t protect you or others from contagions. Now the CDC is recommending two masks. Controlled Scientific studies have definitely found that face masks (even “fit tested” masks leak and don’t provide a positive ,continual barrier of protection.
These are real scientific facts and not the feel good babble espoused by the mainstream media.

Dave
4 months ago
Reply to  bisonwings

Please post a link to one of those studies that say they don’t work. Every one I’ve read/seen says they work – N95. Not gaiters.

Jeff
4 months ago
Reply to  Dave

notbyworks.org j.b. Hixson will send you information you can read and then decide if masks work or don’t work

J Kuester
4 months ago

I am a retired Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and retired navy commander. I state this to substantiate the facts that I have the majority of my life working “behind” a mask and understand what safe isolation practices are. My husband and I briefly attended the Quartzsite RV Show aka “the Big Tent” masks on. We went there with the specific intent to purchase new locks for our new RV from Industrial Lock and Hardware as the locks we had purchased for our first RV were of excellent quality. Having said all this, we visited with Mark 3 times on 3 separate days and he was NOT wearing a mask any of those times. The majority of the vendors were, surprisingly, mask free as well. Neither myself nor my husband became ill and I believe that is because we kept our exposure to a minimum and followed recommended safety protocol. The attendance was considerably lighter that last year.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
4 months ago
Reply to  J Kuester

Thank you for your comments, J. However, we checked with Mark today and he adamantly denies that he ever took off his mask at the show except to eat or drink. —Diane at RVtravel.com

Dwight
4 months ago

It’s really simple folks, if you’re worried about getting Covid, don’t go. Not complicated in any way, that includes vendors and visitors. For the rest of us, we’re enjoying the less than packed venues due to the ones staying home.

Dave
4 months ago

Everyone is locked into their personal science. People say follow the science until science contradicts what they want to believe. Government leaders, that locked down tightly, are talking about opening schools. I suppose the science changed because COVID is still here. Yet Quartzsite was irresponsible.

We know people vaccinated or wear masks can still get and spread COVID. We know CDC originally said they wanted to “flatten the curve” knowing that they could not stop the spread. Some seem to think that catching COVID is from scientifically irresponsible behavior.

Leaders, who limited churches and allowed bars to stay open were following the science; or those who closed campgrounds but not hotels. Leaders, issuing lockdown orders were caught without masks, apparently had personal science and public science.

My region recently had 20,000 cases and 177 deaths. Few want to discuss such numbers out of fear of being called ugly names by believers of science.

Matt Johnson
4 months ago

So the take away is you can do everything the government tells you to do, take all the precautions, and still get the woo flu. Also your spouse that you live with that you sleep with, without a mask on and no plastic divider between you doesn’t catch it.
I personally have had four tests, on four consecutive days. Day 1 and 3 I was positive, days 2 and 4, I was negative. Where’s the science.

Mark
4 months ago
Reply to  Matt Johnson

The spouse in this story had already had the vaccine, so of course she didn’t get it.

And you can get Covid when others fail to take precautions, either government mandated or by personal choice.

If you took the typical rapid tests, they are very unreliable. High rate of false positives AND false negatives.

Tom
4 months ago

I am amazed at the number of people who have become Medical Experts in the last year. I hope all of these so called experts who Wont wear a Mask never find out that they are wrong and wish they had been wearing one. Just please stay away from me and my family. Oh, that’s right. They have rights and nobody can tell them what to do.

I go out, I wear a mask.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Hi, Tom. Now, when I go out, I wear a double mask. If one is good for me and those around me, two is twice as good, I figure. It certainly can’t hurt. 🙂 —Diane at RVtravel.com

PennyPA
4 months ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Except when you can’t breathe with 2 masks on. I have copd and, at times, have trouble breathing with even 1 mask on but I still wear it.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
4 months ago
Reply to  PennyPA

That’s true, PennyPA. When I walk at the local high school outdoor track it’s already difficult to breathe, and with even just one mask on I feel like I’m suffocating. I’ll have to raise the mask off my chin occasionally, just a little, in order to inhale as deeply as I need so I don’t pass out. There are very few people walking at the track, luckily. I won’t be walking this weekend in the snow, however. 😉 Take care. —Diane at RVtravel.com

chris
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom

I stick with science. That way I have a much better chance of being right.

Scotty P
4 months ago
Reply to  chris
Mark
4 months ago
Reply to  Scotty P

Yep! Wear a dirty mask and get sick. Solution: Wash the mask or dispose of them if using disposables.

chris
4 months ago
Reply to  Scotty P

Considering some the ads on that site, no. I distinguish between mainstream medicine and website medicine. When surgeons and ER workers stop wearing masks because of lung cancer, then I would listen.

Last edited 4 months ago by chris
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Scotty P

Yup and driving a car can lead to death in a car accident. Please stop wearing a mask – HERE’S YOUR SIGN!

Pat OConnor
4 months ago
Reply to  Scotty P

Scotty: Please try and be a bit sensible. What happens if you wear your underwear every day for a week? A bit smelly? A bit dirty? A bit gross? If you wear a fabric mask, you need to wash it frequently. Geopolitic.org ids not necessarily a good source for medical advice – political views maybe, but not medical. Choose your sources appropriately and let’s try to discuss real issues, not those that we want to be real. Truth is a powerful thing, let’s use it.

Scotty P
4 months ago
Reply to  Pat OConnor

You own the truth? And I’m not sensible. Read the article at the site to which Geopolitic.org linked. Globalresearch.ca cites the journal Cancer Discovery I never claimed Geopolitic.org was a good source for anything. Be willing to consider all information. If not, we become sheeple.

J Kuester
4 months ago
Reply to  Scotty P

is unfortunate that more people are not educated on how to properly view and assess scientific research. When you read research you must be able to determine if the study was correctly designed, implemented, and analyzed. As well, is it duplicatable and has it been peer reviewed? Most of us read the title of a study, assume everything is kosher because, after all, it is “research”. and will quickly jump from the title to the results, expecting to see their point of view is being proven or fearing that this study could possibly apply to themselves and find themselves unnecessarily discomfited. Any person or entity that claiming that the study demonstrates that mask wearing can lead to an increase of lung cancer misinterprets the results of a study about an increased presence of oral commensal microbes in the lung & is ignorant at best and disingenuous at worst. For more fact checked info: https://reut.rs/2OqGm39

Last edited 4 months ago by J Kuester
Scotty P
4 months ago
Reply to  J Kuester

Well stated J Kuester. Thank you for helping me in making my original point.

Dave
4 months ago
Reply to  J Kuester

Agree – well stated. The problem with scientific studies and academic papers is that they attempt to get respect by using uncommon words and think they get paid per word. Simplify the message. 2% of people have the time to read through them and only 5% of the 2% truly understand it. Simplify the message and if you want more detail you can go read the rest.

Trish Draze
4 months ago
Reply to  Tom

And THAT is your choice, others have THEIR choice and should not be hounded over it.

wanderer
4 months ago

What a horrible parade of ignorant comments by many below. Glad I stayed away, because the crowds were surely filled with these reckless people parading their ‘freedom’ by gathering in groups and pretending there is no problem. They are the people who have kept this pandemic mess going for months longer than it had to.

Bill
4 months ago
Reply to  wanderer

I agree 100%

Tom
4 months ago
Reply to  wanderer

Agree

Trish Draze
4 months ago
Reply to  wanderer

For your safety, you should never leave your house ever again. Do you know covid has been around for 20 years and a big brain guy has been trying to find a cure all this time too? yes it’s true… it is just a thing we live with, so adjust your life but don’t try to dictate your beliefs on others because your scared.

Travis
4 months ago

Did the town turn a blind eye to the actual number? Probably, Could you have a chance to get covid if you attend? Possible, Could you die in a car/RV wreck on the way to the event? Possible, Do we live in a free country where we can be adults, weigh the risk and make our own choices? Questionable.

Gilbert
4 months ago

My opinion is if one is in reasonably good health and contracts C19 chances of recovery are good. The problem as I see it is many Americans are not healthy or fit. Too many are overweight, do not eat healthy, and get zero exercise. The best comment my doctor made to me was “If people don’t take their health seriously, then they shouldn’t expect me to either.”

chris
4 months ago
Reply to  Gilbert

How true that is. Health care costs would be significantly lower if people took better care of themselves. Can’t count the number of RVers I’ve seen carrying a watermelon in their T shirts and how many use CPAP. And now they’re running around with no masks bitching about control and freedom. You just can’t get any more irresponsible than that. The last 4 years have been a testament to ignorance and irresponsibility.

Last edited 4 months ago by chris
Joe
4 months ago

As a casual reader of this article, a couple of items jumped out and got my attention-
First, the writer appears to be quite biased against the gathering and
Second, by his own account, Mark Silver most certainly had contracted Covid before the show as symptoms do not manifest themselves immediately, often taking days or more than a week to appear, or to even test positive after exposure.

Hal StClair
4 months ago

After feeling some of the known symptoms of the virus I tested positive the day before Thanksgiving. Eventually 10 family member came down with the ‘plague’ over the following couple of weeks . No one needed hospitalization, all had faithfully followed the advised protocols . Not real fun but no worse than any flu I’ve had. We attended the Quartzsite event during both weekends and I don’t recall seeing anyone without a mask in the tent-outside was a different story but for what purpose? We see people driving the highways wearing masks, for what possible purpose? If someone is in the at risk group then stay isolated to keep safe but don’t fool yourselves into thinking a mask is going to save you because it can’t. If you choose to venture out it’s your choice so don’t try to blame someone else for your decision

Joe
4 months ago
Reply to  Hal StClair

👍

Chuck
4 months ago

99.997 to 95.5 survives this flu. Why the constant fear?

chris
4 months ago
Reply to  Chuck

The president wasn’t scared. He got a lot of people sick, and went to the hospital. Do you think reasonable precautions might have avoided that? (what you call ‘fear’)

Last edited 4 months ago by chris
PennyPA
4 months ago
Reply to  chris

How many did the then-President get sick? What are the numbers behind your “assumption”?

Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Chuck

400,000,000 (population of USA) X 1% (.01) death rate (conservative) = 4,000,000 (4 million) American deaths. Maybe you and your family want to volunteer. I want to keep mine around! Follow the science and guidelines and we will kill this virus! Happy Camping!

Quartzsite = money over common sense!

cee
4 months ago

What a sh*t show in Comment Land. Feeling sorry for the RVtravel moderators.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
4 months ago
Reply to  cee

I’m very lenient, but other moderators not so much. Comments may disappear at some point, but I have a tendency to let folks rant/vent. They pretty much cancel each other out (is one way I look at it). 🙄 —Diane at RVtravel.com

cee
4 months ago
Reply to  RV Staff

I haven’t read anything that I would delete. But the blind negativity would send me to the Gin.

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
4 months ago
Reply to  cee

That’s why I let them vent, cee. I have a very thick skin, but some weekends the comments are definitely more of a downer (and more time-consuming) than others. You should hear some of the thoughts that go through my head when I read some of them, and how I would really like to respond. But I don’t have the time or the inclination to do that, so I’ll let the readers duke it out. (Unless they get too out of line.) Yeah, I know. Folks shouldn’t be “duking it out” on RVtravel.com — that’s not what we’re here for. But the vast majority of our readers are civil and considerate. There’s just too much pent-up emotions and frustrations these days. Take care. 🙂 —Diane at RVtravel.com

cee
4 months ago
Reply to  RV Staff

We all appreciate you folks! Thanks Diane

Admin
RV Staff (@rvstaff)
4 months ago
Reply to  cee

Thanks, cee. We appreciate you, too! Have a good night. 🙂 —Diane at RVtravel.com

Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  RV Staff

👍

M.j. Dekker
4 months ago

This town is all about the money. They could care less about your safety or covid. Evident in every business in this town, no masks nor any enforcement. You’re on your own to do the right thing for your self. Us, in my family, after coming here for 9 years, will never come back to this hole again.

OafDawg
4 months ago
Reply to  M.j. Dekker

No one forced folks to attend. As free citizens we’re responsible for our own welfare, no one else is.

Boltman
4 months ago
Reply to  OafDawg

Agreed!

KellyR
4 months ago

Back to RVing – and having read all 102 comments – Now I am sure I know why I seldom strike up a conversation with my RV neighbor, whether I agree or disagree. I enjoy the peace and quiet.

cee
4 months ago
Reply to  KellyR

Yep, me too.

Scotty P
4 months ago

Listen, if you will, to our country…….shrouded in victimhood. Manage your risk, just as you do when you pilot your rig. Sheeples.

chris
4 months ago
Reply to  Scotty P

I prefer to listen to medical science, not internet posts telling me I’m ‘sheeple.’ Who did you listen to the last 4 years?

Scotty P
4 months ago
Reply to  chris

From which medical scientists do we take counsel? Birx and Fauci? Kulldorf? With whom do we blindly comply in a heard-like manner? 1mask, 2 masks, more?

chris
4 months ago
Reply to  Scotty P

It’s herd-like, and you’re too angry.

Jim
4 months ago

There’s a really simple answer to everyone’s concerns about covid. Quarantine everyone. Forever. That means no supermarket, no gas station, no hospitals, no police, no fire dept…..NOTHING. That oughta do it, right?

rvgrandma
4 months ago

I agree with the person who mentioned the eyes. People do not realize how much they touch their face even when wearing a mask. Other options are the virus could be on your hair, your clothes etc. If it is and has not died yet, you could get infected. We all take risk. Everyone that attended knew the risk and agreed to them. Hopefully anyone that did test positive will have mild cases.

pursuits712
4 months ago

I find it reprehensible that the process to “vet” these events is as faulty as the enforcement of the safety regulations. I am sick of hearing about people’s “right” to risk the health of others. And the flu? Has been almost unheard of this year…gee, ya’ don’t think the extra precautions, including masks, had anything to do with that!?

Jim
4 months ago
Reply to  pursuits712

If they’re stopping the flu, explain, scientifically, why they aren’t stopping the covid. Please.

wanderer
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Not the OP, but: This covid virus is unusually contagious, and spreads through the air we breathe out. It is more contagious than the flu, which spreads less easily, often spreading only through close contact.

Mark
4 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Very simple. The measures taken to reduce Covid work even better against the flu because flu is less contagious. If we followed those measures every year, we would not see flu. But because flu transmits less and kills less, we as a society choose to live with it.

Science: A person with flu transmits it on average to 1 or 2 people in a normal year. If you take precautions that reduce that to less than 1 (e.g. 0.5), then if 100 people show up with flu, they only spread it to 50, and they sprad to 25, etc., and eventually 200 total people have had flu and its over. But if the number is 1.5, then 100 show up and give it to another 150, and they give it to 225 more, and eventually it is everywhere.

With Covid, the initial transmissibility is between 2 and 3. So if we take measures and get it down to 1.5, we have it spread everywhere. But it also kills around 10 times as many people, so if we have 100,000 flu cases and only 100 deaths, then Covid kills 1,000 instead.

California Travel Videos
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark

Thank you for your clear explanation. Sadly, it can get even worse like when the President held a ceremony for Supreme Court Justice Amy Barrett at the Rose Garden, which Doctor Fauci pronounced a superspreader event. Fortunately, with their extraordinary medical treatments, none of those infected lost their lives.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_House_COVID-19_outbreak#List_of_COVID-19_infections_and_notable_exposures

Boltman
4 months ago
Reply to  pursuits712

Nope! It’s all attributed to the Chinese flu along with all the other death causing maladies, heart attack, stroke, pneumonia and anything else they can hang the virus on.
Enough already it’s time to return to your lives. We’ve lost enough time away from friends and family.

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