DisCon III Final Covid Report Has One New Case

DisCon III emailed members on January 12 the last report from the Covid team about positive test results among attendees of the convention which ended over three weeks ago on December 19. There is only one new case. They also did a summary and statistical comparison with cases in Washington DC generally.

Here are links to the earlier reports:


DisCon III January 12 Email

This will be the last of these emails from DisCon III. Our COVID response team is ceasing tracking activities, as we are now several weeks past the end of the convention. We have one final case to report which was not contained in previous emails. If you have any questions or concerns, please email covid@discon3.org.

Overall, as of January 8th, 32 people reported positive test results to DisCon III, one of which was a false positive. No one was hospitalized or required medical attention.

Case AF

  • Tested negative with a PCR test on Tuesday, December 21, but positive with a home test and a PCR test on Monday, December 27.
  • Mild symptoms include a sore throat and a headache.
  • Staff member who was in contact with many guests, all of whom have been notified separately and reported negative tests.
  • Attended the Old Pharts party on Sunday, December 19.

Information about DisCon III cases has been conveyed to the DC Department of Health with the consent of those reporting positive test results. We appreciate all of your cooperation in our contact tracing efforts. 

As mentioned, this will be the last tracing email, but we wanted to repeat the full list for easy reference.

To put these numbers into context, DisCon III had approximately 2,300 attendees. In the ten days between December 17th and December 26th, 26 of them—1.13%—reported positive test results.

In contrast, the District of Columbia has approximately 670,000 residents. In the ten days between December 17th and December 26th, 17,546 of them—2.62%—reported positive test results. 

This is not and cannot be a perfect comparison. Among other things, we do not know what percentage of DisCon III members did not report their COVID status to DisCon III, or what percentage of DC residents’ tests have not been reported to the Department of Health. But we hope having context for DC’s overall infection rate will help explain why the number of cases reported in these emails has been so high. We attribute the fact that our apparent rate is lower than the general DC rate to our masking and vaccination requirements.

(We calculated starting from December 17th because that was the first day DisCon III received a case report, and ended December 26th because at the time we made these calculations DC had not yet made available data from December 27th. We included DisCon III’s false positive in this number because DC does not extract false positives from its data.)

Based on these reports, the only cluster event we saw evidence of was the WSFS Business Meeting. While a number of people who tested positive also attended the art show, the dealer’s room, the Hugo Awards, and the Masquerade, these are all events attended by a large proportion of DisCon III members overall. The percent of positive cases who reported being present in those areas does not appear statistically significant or to be clustered around specific times or locations within the rooms. We would have expected to see clusters among the volunteers or dealers in these areas, which — except for a group that was sharing a hotel room — we did not see.

The WSFS business meeting, in contrast, has a disproportionate number of cases relative to the percent of DisCon III members who attended it. Our best guess is that the WSFS business meeting involved a lot of talking, which generates more aerosols, and consistent repeated exposure. The other panel rooms were cleared every hour for a half-hour break but the business meeting was not.

Thank you all for helping keep DisCon III as safe as possible under the circumstances.

6 thoughts on “DisCon III Final Covid Report Has One New Case

  1. The at home tests apparently have a lot of false positives. My personal care assistant last week was feeling under the weather so she took one and it was positive. She called her PCP to report it and see what she should do but they told her to come in that afternoon.

    When the NP who saw her that afternoon did an assessment, she was told she had influenza instead. They did run a PCR test which came back negative the next day. She was fine a week later.

  2. I was one of the people who had contact with this last case. I heard he thinks he got it on the plane home but there was a flurry of testing when we all got the news. (No other positives.)

    I’m glad it’s finally reported, if only so that I can stop saying “and I know of at least one case not on the list.”

  3. @Cat I’d thought that the at-home lateral flow tests had a lot of false negatives and few false positives.

    Am I mis-remembering, or is his new information?

  4. @Andrew I. Porter: Good to hear; I wonder about her roommates at the con, who also tested positive.

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