Navy cites the surging Delta variant for influencing their decision.
Another summer tradition bites the dust. The Naval Air Station Oceana Air Show, a community favorite held since 1953, has unfortunately been called off due to COVID-19.
Base officials announced the news Friday, citing concerns regarding the infectious Delta variant spreading throughout the community. Current projections from the Navy show the variant's "peak" overlapping at the same time as the event originally scheduled the weekend of September 18–19.
Numbers from local installations are currently at Health Protection Condition (HPCON) Bravo, which translates to a weekly caseload of 16-30 per 100,000 people. This is in stark contrast to July's status at HPCON Alpha, or under two cases per 100,000 people when the event was initially announced. With this information in mind, officials decided the risk was too great to justify a larger gathering.
“I know this is disappointing to everyone who looks forward to coming onto base, seeing our high-performance aircraft, and meeting the men and women of naval aviation who call Oceana home,” said Capt. Bob Holmes, Naval Air Station Oceana’s commanding officer, in a public statement. “But this is the right thing to do to ensure the health and safety of our force and safeguard the Navy’s mission readiness.”
Holmes also added the health and safety of the public was their "top priority" in making the decision.
The two-day event is the Navy's biggest gathering in Hampton Roads, as well as the one time of year the public can visit the military base. It draws a quarter of a million people annually and features a variety of performers—2021's event was supposed to have appearances by the Blue Angels.
Last year's show was also canceled, but the Navy hosted a virtual live stream in its place, a first for the base. According to officials, however, nothing is planned this year in lieu of an in-person event.
What do you think of the Navy's decision? Were you planning to attend this year? Sound off in the comments.