Following a recent report that Coachella led to a spiked increase in reported herpes cases, it would appear that the Stagecoach Fesitval has suffered a similar fate. Once again, TMZ has cited the HerpAlert website as a means of tallying their data, reporting an increase in people seeking treatment for the pesky STD. While the sources at HerpAlert indicate the reported outbreak was not as bad as it was at Coachella, TMZ claims that a hefty 114 cases were reported across Palm Desert, Coachella Valley and Indio, coinciding with the Stagecoach Country Music Festival.
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While it's easy to picture the Festival Grounds as being a haven for the "free-spirited," it's difficult to assess whether TMZ's reports are one hundred percent accurate. The Riverside County Health Department claims that neither their labs nor their STD programs have experienced any particular volume spike, though TMZ counters by saying some of Herp's data might have been for existing, perscription-seeking patients. The skepticism was echoed by Cita Walsh, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, who didn't appear to notice any "measurable increase."
In any case, a strange narrative is in the process of building, painting Festivals as a breeding ground for Herpes. Regardless, there remains a valuable lesson to be learned amidst the speculation. Don't be a fool, wrap your tool, or insert idiom here. Otherwise, you could be next to have "the gift that keeps on giving" bequeathed unto you.