At first the E. Coli outbreak at our beloved Chioptle seemed like a temporary scare—something that would pass quickly and allow us to eat our delicious burritos once more—especially when spokespeople for the restaurant insisted there was nothing to worry about. Now, however, a Chipotle restaurant in Boston has infected up to 141 people with norovirus (no relation to E. Coli, although symptoms for both infections are similar), which makes this outbreak one of the worst in history.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the norovirus outbreak at Boston College, which sickened up to 141 students (this number has yet to be confirmed) including college athletes, is much larger than normal. Based on data from the Center for Disease Control, it appears that from 2009 to 2014, less than 3 percent of norovirus outbreaks sickened 80 or more people, and only 1.3 percent sickened 140 people or more. The majority of outbreaks did relatively little damage—half sickened 11 people or fewer.
It's also unusual for fast-food chains to infect patrons with norovirus in the first place. Since 2009, when the CDC began tracking outbreaks, it's been much more common for fast-food restaurants to give their patrons salmonella (sit-down restaurants typically see a higher number of people infected with norovirus).
Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells apologized for sickening so many Boston students, saying "This was a very unfortunate incident, and I'm deeply sorry that this happened." He also promised (yet again) stricter safety regulations: "The procedures we're putting in place today are so above industry norms that we are going to be the safest place to eat." Despite Ells' apology, the restaurant chain's stock prices have tanked.