Wishful thinking and marginal compliance with safety guidelines may not be enough to protect you and your loved ones this holiday season. That was the lesson that Anthony and Mikayla Bishop, a newlywed couple from Ohio, learned the hard way. Even after slashing their wedding invite list from 200 to 83 guests, the ceremony turned out to be a COVID-19 super-spreader event. Now, nearly a third of attendees, including three elderly grandparents and both the bride and groom, have tested positive for the coronavirus. As a new pandemic surge continues on the rise, the Bishop wedding is a cautionary tale about letting your guard down.
To be clear, the Bishop couple did not break any state regulations when they assembled their 83 wedding guests, nor were they COVID deniers. On the contrary, the couple says that they were concerned about the disease, which is why they cut down their guestlist by more than a half. They even offered masks and hand sanitizer at the entrance of the Cincinnati-area venue, but soon realized that few guests embraced the precautions.
“My big moment honestly was right when the ceremony started and the doors opened and both my parents walked me down the aisle,” says bride Mikayla Bishop. “The first thing I see is I see everyone’s face. And that’s when I realized. Wow. Nobody’s wearing a mask. I’m walking down the aisle. We can’t do anything now.”
But in the excitement of their wedding day—which happened to be on Halloween—neither Mikayla nor husband Anthony thought much about the red flags. “When I saw everyone not wearing masks I was just like, ‘Oh, well I guess we’re just gonna kinda go with it I guess,’” Anthony explained. Mikayla added that they were having so much fun at the reception, she wasn’t even thinking about COVID. “I didn’t think that almost half of our wedding guests were gonna get sick.”
But in the two weeks that followed, the joy of their wedding turned into the couple’s personal nightmare.
In sickness and in health…
The Bishops drove to a cabin in North Carolina for their honeymoon, but started noticing symptoms upon arrival. While Anthony lost his sense of taste and smell, Mikayla says she could hardly get off the couch from feeling so achy. Even before they chose to cut their honeymoon short and return home, the onslaught of phone calls began.
“Every single day we’re getting a call,” Mikayla explains. “Oh, here’s another person. Here’s another person. Here’s another person. And it starts to take a toll on you.” The newlyweds say they feel especially guilty about endangering their grandparents, three of whom tested positive. In fact, two of their grandparents ended up at the emergency room with severe symptoms.
“What’s crazy is that our grandparents were the only ones that wore a mask the whole time,” Mikayla recounts. “They actually wore their mask except for when they were eating their dinner.” Of course, simply wearing a mask does not protect a person from contracting COVID-19. Rather, it is a measure to protect those around you, in case you unknowingly carry the virus and are exhaling pathogens. Hence, if a person or persons at the wedding carried the virus and chose not to wear a mask, they likely exhaled the coronavirus that sickened even the mask-wearing grandparents.
The newlyweds added that while their grandparents avoided the dancefloor, they think that was where much of the spread took place. “That’s what was maybe the super-spreader,” Mikayla said of the tightly-packed dancers. “Everybody’s in each other’s face and there’s no masks.”
Learning from Mistakes
This Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued new restrictions on mass gatherings. Among the new regulations is a ban on dancing at weddings and a rule that guests must be seated at all times. The Bishops hope that people take these new guidelines seriously. In fact, in appearing on local station WLWT, they hoped to spare other families from similar catastrophes.
“Ask yourself if you’re okay with having a really small, intimate wedding, maybe just parents and siblings” Mikayla advises other brides-to-be. “If you are, go for it. If not, you might want to postpone.”
Reprinted with permission from https://werax.com/a-third-of-guests-at-ohio-wedding-including-bride-and-groom-test-positive-for-covid/
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