Giant supermarket apologizes for ‘plan a super spread’ ad

Plan a super spread — and perhaps a super-spreader event?

A major supermarket chain put its foot where its mouth is after publishing a tone-deaf advertisement in its own magazine. It shows an image of shrimp, fruit and cheese platters — in a seeming nod to gathering together to share food — with text proclaiming, “Hosting? Plan a super spread,” TMZ reports.

The chain, Giant Food — which has locations in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and in the nation’s capital — ran the ad across a full page to encourage readers to host gatherings, as well as share bites with each other. But TMZ notes the choice in words are synonymous with terms related to COVID-19 outbreaks, particularly “super spread.”

A superspreader event is a gathering in which one contagious person infects many others, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There’s no specific rule for how many cases bring a gathering to superspreader status, but Perry Halkitis, the dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, said “a 10-person birthday celebration or 100-person wedding can all be superspreading events. It only takes a single infected person to infect many.”

Moreover, with COVID-19 cases rising in the New York tri-state area, as well as in other parts of the nation, the governors of New York and New Jersey recently issued executive orders both discouraging travel for Thanksgiving and limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people or fewer. Despite it all, a new survey found that more than a third of Americans plan on having Thanksgiving dinners with 10 or more people.

Giant Food, for its part, has apologized.

“While, in hindsight, the choice of words was a poor one, Giant had no intentions of insensitivity,” it said in a statement.

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