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Culture

No Outbreak at Disney World Three Months After Reopening

Sunlight breaks through clouds near Disney World ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Irma, in Kissimmee, Florida, September 8, 2017. (Gregg Newton/Reuters)

When Disney World reopened in July, coronavirus cases were spiking in Florida and the decision to put thousands of people back to work was widely derided as a disaster in the making. The media rarely do a “we were wrong” story, preferring simply to move on to other dire predictions when initial dire predictions don’t come true so it’s admirable that the New York Times swallowed hard and published this story, albeit under the bizarrely negative headline, “At Disney World, ‘Worst Fears’ about Virus Have Not Come True.” Worst fears? I’d say a more accurate headline would be “No Disney World Workers Have Come Down with COVID on the Job, Lead Union Says.”

No, as in zero. You have to get several paragraphs into the story before you come across this rather gobsmacking item: “’We’ve had very few, and none, as far as we can tell, have been from work-related exposure,’ said Eric Clinton, president of UNITE HERE Local 362, which represents roughly 8,000 attraction workers and custodians.”

None? As in nobody among 8,000 union workers at Disney World has been infected by coronavirus on the job? This is fantastic news. Other unions, according to the Times, tell a similar story. And workers presumably are at far greater risk than visitors, since workers are there every day. And this is three months after the park reopened. I don’t know what the takeaway is here, but Disney World is mainly an outdoor activity. Recall that there was no outbreak associated with Disney World back in the spring either; the park was open until March 15, and thousands of workers and visitors streamed through the park even as the New York Times, among others, sounded the warning bell.

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