EVE Fanfest 2022: Fanfest attendees have already begun testing positive for COVID

    
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(We’ve updated this post at the end with the latest counts and info.)

EVE Fanfest 2022 in Reykjavik is barely over, and the first cases of COVID-19 among attendees have already started to emerge. At least two people who were at the event have reported testing positive, including famous EVE Online player Charles White, who plays the character of Space Pope Max Singularity. Charles posted a tweet with a video showing his positive lateral flow test in order to warn attendees who have been in close contact with him that they may have been exposed.

This year’s Fanfest was CCP Games’ first in-person event since the pandemic began and was originally pitched as a COVID-safe event that would require proof of vaccination and follow all other local guidelines. But that requirement was dropped earlier this year when Iceland began removing its COVID safety restrictions in the middle of its Omicron wave, meaning Fanfest lacked vaccine, masking, and social distancing requirements. Instead, CCP’s stated health and safety plan to protect attendees from a virus transmitted by airborne aerosolized particles was to provide hand sanitizer and “encourage [attendees] to be mindful of other people’s personal space.” Case counts in Iceland itself have been relatively low this spring, but of course Fanfest drew hundreds gamers from all over the world, including countries like the US currently experiencing a rise in cases in a pandemic that is still very much not over.

There are inherent risks right now in any international travel or in-person events, but obviously we hope Fanfest doesn’t lead to a major outbreak, especially given the recent devastating news that a PAX staffer died after contracting the virus at PAX East this year. Attendees travelling to the US or Canada are required to provide a negative test result before they can board their flight, so this could disrupt some people’s international travel plans in addition to the obvious health risk. Here’s hoping the Space Pope and everyone else has a safe trip home and speedy recovery.

Disclosure: In accordance with Massively OP’s ethics policy, we must disclose that CCP paid for our writer’s travel to and accommodation at this event. CCP has neither requested nor been granted any control or influence over our coverage of the event. At least this isn’t like the time I gave everyone at EVE Vegas the flu.

More Fanfest 2022 news:

Update 5/9
CCP has now addressed the unfolding situation in Discord, telling attendees that even more participants at the event have tested positive and that everyone is encouraged to test and take precautions for their flights home.

Update 5/9
A CCP dev has also announced a positive case, along with additional players.

Update 5/9
CCP Games has not posted on the official site or forums about the COVID outbreak at Fanfest yet, but it did open a help channel on the official Discord for players communicating their status following the event (some folks are still posting it in the regular Fanfest channel too). Multiple players – we count well over a dozen now – have announced their positive tests and where they had been so that others can retrace their steps as well. Others are organizing hostels and group rentals for folks stranded in Iceland and unable to fly home because of their status.

It also appears that at least one informal Fanfest-adjacent event (at the Ice Bar) scheduled for this evening has been canceled by the organizer.

Update 5/9
Another CCP dev and popular community member have tested positive.

Update 5/9
CCP has dispatched a letter to attendees about the outbreak. We have now counted two dozen individual people claiming to have tested positive following this event, with several more sick but not (yet) positive, including several CCP developers.

Update 5/10
As of this morning, we’ve counted 34 individuals claiming to have tested positive at or following Fanfest, with another 16 individuals claiming to have symptoms without a positive test. Over the last day and a half, unfortunately, some folks from the second list have moved to the first. Be safe folks.
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