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Sólo el primer día de festival detectaron 27 casos de fiebre entre los asistentes. Vía El Universal.
On the first day of the festival there were 27 cases of fever among the attendees. Photo: El Universal.

Vive Latino and the Coronavirus: Was it necessary to put 40,000 people at risk?

Mexico going forward with one of the world's largest music festivals could have major consequences this year. 

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Guns N' Roses said 'no'. They were canceling their performance at this year's Vive Latino festival to prevent potential further spread of the new COVID-19 among its attendees, but were forced to go on stage under contract, according to El Universal

The world's largest Latin music festival was held in Mexico City despite warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO), demands from thousands of Mexicans and the shadow of tragedy experienced in Asia and Europe hanging over their heads. Global pandemic, have you heard? That's not the name of a rock band. 

A safe health barrier?

There were no coronavirus tests administered, but organizers conducted "preventive measures" in their own words. What it amounted to was taking the temperature of each of the 40,000 people who attended the massive event as soon as they walked through the stadium gates with a laser thermometer. On the first day, 27 people had a fever. The Mexican Ministry of Public Health also provided 92 paramedics, a dozen doctors and 8 health tarps in case anyone started showing symptoms.  Some of the measures were insufficient, but reassured many spectators, and others thought them "excessive".

"I think this global pandemic does not have the levels of emergency that we are being told," a fan told Efe. "I think it goes beyond our knowledge... it is at the level of governments. I live life as I have always lived it and I have not changed anything in the face of the alert."

According to the latest data reported, yesterday the cases of coronavirus in Mexico went from 41 to 53 and are in every part of the country.

Of the 84 artists scheduled to perform at the festival, 72 remained on the bill. In addition to Guns N' Roses,  The Cardigans, Zoé Unplugged and Babasónicos also performed. The rest decided to cancel their performances "out of responsibility". A large number of spectators wore masks and were bombarded with recommendations on the stadium's big screens on how they should cough "elbow-to-elbow" and avoid a lot of physical contact, despite that there wasn't even 20 centimeters between them. 

For Diego, a Mexican spectator, the alert also seemed excessive. Too much panic, he said. "A dozen cases out of millions is not much," he added.

According to the latest data reported, yesterday the cases of coronavirus in Mexico went from 41 to 53 and are in every part of the country. COVID-19 also has a presence throughout the continent, with El Salvador and Nicaragua being the only places without the contagion. 

In Brazil, 234 people have tested positive, in Peru, 86,in Argentina, 65, and in Colombia, 54. Although these figures do not exceed the more than 81,000 sick people in China, 28,000 in Italy, and 15,000 and 10,000 in Iran and Spain, respectively, the virus is also in its early stages in Africa and is multiplying at a dizzying rate. 

Why have other major festivals such as Pa'l Norte in Monterrey or Coachella in the Colorado desert been canceled or postponed, and  Vive Latino not?

The answer, according to the thousands of attendees who decided to stay home and tweet their frustration, was because the organizers didn't want to lose the money for the tickets, which they didn't return. 

Only time will tell what responsibility the festival and its organizers will have to bear in spreading contagion in the country.

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