Did Coronavirus spread at Sundance Film Festival?

May 7, 2020, 9:42 AM
2021 Sundance Film Festival...
FILE - In this Thursday, Jan. 22, 2015, file photo, the Egyptian Theatre is lit up on Main Street during the first night of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP, File)
(Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP, File)

PARK CITY, Utah — Attendees and health experts are questioning whether coronavirus was spread at the Sundance Film Festival, weeks before official cases were counted.

Several attendees got very sick at the 10-day international festival in January. 

“The doctors couldn’t figure it out,” Former Utah Film Commission Director Marshal Moore told KSL TV. “The cough was different. My body felt different, my breathing was different.”

He was in and out of the hospital six different times.

Some have called their illnesses after the festival the “Sundance flu” that some get every year. Most attributed it to staying up late and the close contact with others, but this year it felt worse for many people.

Some attendees and actors tell the Hollywood Reporter they were on oxygen or humidifiers. They say doctors diagnosed it as bronchitis, pneumonia, RSV or rhinovirus. Then in a couple of weeks, they suddenly got better.

At the time, the CDC had just announced that airports would conduct health screenings for passengers traveling from Wuhan to LA, San Francisco and New York. But the Salt Lake International Airport was not included.

The independent film festival featured a total of 244 projects from 44 countries.

Moore and others want to get an antibody test to see if it could have been coronavirus. Which would mean the virus was in the state long before the first official case.

State epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn says, it’s “definitely possible” that coronavirus was circulating at Sundance.

Researchers have thought the first case to hit the US was a Seattle man coming from Wuhan China on January 21st

Summit County says their first official case of COVID-19 was March 10.


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Did Coronavirus spread at Sundance Film Festival?