When Atlas Law demanded that all shareholders needed to return in person for signing closing papers, I was furious. The last place I wanted to be was in Ft. Myers where COVID infections were on the rise, and many of those were due to the highly contagious and vicious Delta variant. Even though we were completely vaccinated, reports of breakthrough infections were already being reported in August. (see below.)
This is from the New Yorker about an outbreak in August in Provincetown Mass:
“Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quickly identified four hundred and sixty-nine new cases among Massachusetts residents. Almost all of the infections were due to the highly contagious Delta variant, and nearly three-quarters occurred in vaccinated people.”
And this is from the AP on August 10, 2021:
“ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota has seen at least 5,599 breakthrough cases of COVID-19 and at least 57 deaths among fully vaccinated people, health officials reported Tuesday.”
The Minnesota Department of Health said it will begin reporting breakthrough case figures weekly as cases of the highly infectious delta variant surge across the state and country. But the department cautioned that the numbers will lag because of reporting delays.
This is from a Ft. Lauderdale report on Sept 6: More than 6,600 people died with COVID-19 in Florida in August, an average of more than 213 people per day, and there may still be more August fatalities to be added. Already it is the deadliest month of the pandemic in the state.
And this from Oregon in July:
My wife and I are in high risk groups, but Atlas lawyers insisted on our making the trip from New Jersey. Some of our NJ friends had been able to conduct legal meetings and real estate signings via the Internet for matters in Florida.
We were threatened if we did not come, even though we requested to do the deed from our home. They implied that we would not receive our payment if we did not comply. It seems they required that a person be near death to be able to stay home for the meeting. Most of us shareholders were already high risk given our ages, and we had additional risk factors.
So we reluctantly came. It involved a two-way plane trip including time spent in two airports.
But the worst part in terms of risk was that meeting held on Sept 13 in the Tropicana Clubhouse. The highest risk was when we were forced to spend about an hour in close quarters, especially at the individual tables where distancing was impossible.
Masks were worn, but the lawyer at our table was indifferent to the risks. A woman sitting a few feet away from my wife and myself was coughing and talking, and her mask kept slipping down off her face. No one said anything about it, but I finally had to twice ask the lawyer to enforce the masking with that woman.
Soon after we got home on Sept 15 my wife got sick on Sept 19. She turned out to have the COVID infection. I then was also found to be positive. We both were fully vaccinated. ( breakthrough infections.)
The time sequence suggests that we probably were infected in Florida at the meeting. The air travel was another possibility, although the airlines were very careful about precautions. The same cannot be said about that meeting on Sept. 13.
I would like Atlas to enumerate everyone who was given a pass and were able to stay home. What were the reasons for granting exceptions for those folks? Were they arbitrary in making the decisions, and who was responsible for making those decisions?
We’re lucky that we had excellent medical attention, so we did survive the potentially fatal infection so far without any major complications. But these infections caused all sorts of problems for us and those who came in contact with us, even though we were very careful.
Here we have a situation which illustrates that anyone’s risk of getting infected not only relates to our own precautions, but also to those that we come into contact with and who may be oblivious to our risk, as occurred with the Tropicana meeting.
We informed Tropicana that we may have been infected at the meeting and suggested that all attendees be informed. But that never happened as far as we know, and that was careless and neglectful.
Paul Goldfinger, MD