EVE Fanfest 2022: CCP delivered free food to EVE Online players waylaid by the Fanfest COVID outbreak

At least one attendee ended up in the hospital, but he's home now


It’s been over a week since EVE Online players from around the world met up in Reyjkavik, Iceland, for EVE Fanfest 2022, the first official in-person EVE event since 2019. As as we reported a week ago, it didn’t take long before players began testing positive for COVID-19, with well-known player Max Singularity (also known as the Space Pope) announcing that he had fallen sick last Sunday. While CCP reps have made clear the Pope wasn’t Patient Zero, dozens more attendees and family members tested positive over the days that followed, some of them even bringing the virus back with them from the trip.

Players from the US and Canada weren’t allowed to travel home without a negative test, so some gamers found their flights cancelled and were stuck spending thousands of dollars in unexpected accommodation fees. CCP Games did open a COVID-19-help channel on the official EVE Online Discord server to offer what help it could, and developers have been organising free food deliveries for anyone still sick and stuck in Reykjavik.

We’ve been keeping a running total of Fanfest attendees, journalists, PR staff, volunteers, and developers publicly confirming infection on Twitter and Discord, and our tally now stands at 77, plus an unknown (to us) number from CCP’s own community team. (We are aware that CCP is also keeping an official list, but given the scope of the outbreak and the likelihood that many people are not reporting in public, we assume the numbers are much higher than either list.) While some sick players have been stuck in Reykjavik this week, the timing of the event was such that many people actually tested negative before travelling home to the US and then developed symptoms by the time they got home or during their travels. One player even reported that members of his family who did not travel to and from Iceland had also picked up the virus from him, suggesting it’s already hopped several times now.

Players have also been using the Discord for some impromptu contact-tracing to figure out the source of the infections, and it seems likely that the spread may have started at several player events before Fanfest officially began. Close-contact events throughout the week of Fanfest included a karaoke night, the charity dinner, a 250-person pub crawl, the party at the top of the world, several private functions, and the Fanfest event itself, which took place inside a crowded venue. As we’ve previously noted, the events had no heath and safety regulations for COVID in place, and the local airport’s enforcement was apparently ineffective, both of which earned criticism from some attendees.

While most players who fell ill early last week have now waited out their five required days and are traveling home, we do note here that not everyone was so lucky: At least one player was hospitalised this week. “[H]e went from testing negative and feeling fine to hospitalized with COVID pneumococcal meningitis and sepsis just 28 hours after [his] negative test,” CCP’s lead volunteer rep said. Fortunately, he’s doing much better now.

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 neither requested nor was granted any control or influence over our coverage of the event. Brendan wore a mask, avoided the crowds, and didn’t get sick.

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