Social media has erupted with anger after a gay man visited Fire Island despite having recently experienced COVID-19 symptoms.
Fire Island Pines in New York is something of an LGTBQ haven, known to be a popular vacation destination particularly for gay men visiting from New York City.
But those who descended on the small hamlet over the July 4th weekend were pilloried on social media after footage emerged of people congregating on beaches and in houses without social distancing or face masks.
“Nooooo Fire Island gays! What are you doing?!” Twitter user Kade Boehme wrote, alongside a video of shirtless crowds on a beach.
“Remember all them that got smacked down by Rona after that winter circuit party, y’all are just gonna drag that shit back to the city with you,” Boehme added.
Boehme referenced the Winter Party Festival, held in Miami in March. At least one gay man who attended the circuit party later died from COVID-19, with his partner, who also tested positive for the virus, alleging that they contracted it at the festival.
Nooooo Fire Island gays! What are you doing?! Remember all them that got smacked down by Rona after that winter circuit party, y’all are just gonna drag that shit back to the city with you. pic.twitter.com/cYdC8AhQlY
— Kade Boehme (@kadeboehme) July 5, 2020
While criticism was widespread, one Fire Island vacationer in particular has drawn the ire of social media.
Corey Hannon, a 27-year-old gay man, informed his Instagram followers that he was sitting on a Fire Island beach despite possibly experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Hannon wrote on his Instagram Story, “I wanna Kiki but my body says, nope not yet…. thought the Covid was gone.”
Screenshots of Hannon’s Facebook account show him openly discussing symptoms, including a post on July 4 saying, “Fuck you Miss Rona. I thought I was cured.”
A few days earlier, on June 30, he said he was “feeling grateful,” adding, “day 7 and my body has decided it is done with COVID-19.”
After Hannon’s Instagram Story went viral, he posted an update saying that he did have COVID-19.
“I did have COVID, everyone knows I had COVID, and you know what I did? I sat in my f***ing bedroom and quarantined myself for eight f***ing days,” he said.
“I suffered through COVID, and now I’m out celebrating,” Hannon continued. “So go f*** yourselves. I hope all of you get f***ing COVID.”
8 day quarantine isn’t a thing. 14 days and two back to back negative tests. https://t.co/w79vJH6Jgp
— Myles Miller (@MylesMill) July 6, 2020
The CDC currently recommends that those with suspected COVID-19 symptoms isolate from others until they have recovered.
Contact with other people is not recommended until a person has gone three days without a fever, has seen an improvement in their respiratory symptoms, and it has been at least 10 days since their symptoms first appeared.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hannon’s video led to further criticism. He eventually deleted the Instagram Story, and on Sunday, June 5, uploaded a video to Facebook apologizing for his actions, Queerty reports.
He claimed his response to criticism on Instagram was meant to be a joke to friends, and he “never meant for it to make it to my story.”
“I am terribly sorry this happened. I would never go out there and righteously infect people,” he said. “I apologize that I went out, maybe too early. I am a human being. I made a mistake and I am sincerely sorry for that.”
Hannon said he felt unwell on June 22, started to self-isolate after speaking with his physician, and took a COVID-19 test on June 30 after his symptoms improved.
Despite being warned that the results of the test could take up to 10 days, he went for a spray tan on July 3 in New Jersey, and then traveled to Fire Island on July 4.
At the time of the video, Hannon had yet to receive the results of his test.
“I would never go out and maliciously infect people. I’m not a murderer. I’m not a bad person,” he said.
Hannon said his videos were “never supposed to be leaked. I apologize if you think I’m a bad person because of this. I made a mistake and am now paying the price, unfortunately.”
Hannon criticized the social media response to his actions, saying he had been booed from a train, had dealt with reporters outside his house, and had even received death threats.
However, Hannon was far from alone in potentially ignoring social distancing and isolation guidelines during his Fire Island trip.
Social media was flooded with photos and videos of parties, both on the beach and in homes, showing crowds of shirtless men without masks or distancing.
What’s happening in Fire Island is why Covid will never be controlled or manageable. People are so fucking selfish.
— jaded new yorker (@nozztilbrooklyn) July 5, 2020
View this post on Instagram
One person decided to deliberately antagonize those complaining about the lack of distancing and masks at Fire Island parties.
Giancarlo Kristian Albanese, a currency analyst at EverythingFx, posted a photo of a party, filled with hundreds of shirtless people, and told those concerned about COVID-19 transmission to “kiss my asshole.”
“Fuck Your mask. Fuck your social distancing. Fuck your vaccine. Fuck your eugenics,” he wrote. “Kiss my asshole if you think I’m an ass.”
The Fire Island Pines Property Owners Association sent a message to locals urging them to report large gatherings that contravened guidelines.
“With the unexpected parties in our community over this past weekend, I want to reassure you that FIPPOA has working with State and local officials to keep the community safe,” the Association wrote.
“We are extremely concerned about the health of our residents in the Pines,” FIPPOA continued. “We are distressed by the irresponsible behavior of some residents and visitors.”
The Association added: “We need your help. If you see something, say something. We urge you to report large gatherings immediately to 911.”
FIPPOA said that parties on the beach are forbidden, and reminded owners that those on the beach are required to adhere to social distancing or wear a face mask.
House parties were also to be regulated and monitored, FIPPOA said, adding that the police would be “vigilant with regard to enforcing the Executive Order with regard to house parties.”
Suffolk County Police Department was reportedly called to the beach in Fire Island Pines twice on Saturday over reports of large crowds failing to follow social distancing, the Daily Mail reports.
Police said they patrolled the gathering and reminded revelers about social distancing, but issued no citations.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement on Sunday urging local officials to uphold COVID-19 prevention measures.
“As we end this holiday weekend, I urge everyone to be New York Tough: wear a mask, socially distance, use hand sanitizer and continue the smart practices that have made our state a national leader in combating this virus,” Cuomo said.
“I also remind local governments of their duty to enforce the standards that have made [New York’s] reopening safe and successful.”
These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and MetroWeekly.com remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!