Since the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic the Japanese government have been warning the public about the 3 Cs: closed spaces; crowded places; and close-contact settings. They believe that these are the places where it is most likely for the virus to be transmitted. These concerns mean that speaking closely to another person, as we do in theatre rehearsals, is considered dangerous. And now we are seeing research that shows that singing is even more likely to cause the spread of an airborne virus as this increases the number of particles being released into the air.
The Guardian is reporting that whilst churches will open in Germany that communal singing may be banned:
Lothar Wieler, the head of the German government’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, specifically warned on Tuesday that singing was ill-advised. “Evidence shows that during singing, the virus drops appear to fly particularly far,” he said.
Virologists also believe singers could absorb many more particles as they tend to breathe deeper into their diaphragms than they would during normal breathing.
An expert panel put together by the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Chorus America, the Barbershop Harmony Society, and the Performing Arts Medical Association (PAMA) gave a presentation that basically said that there is no safe way for people to get together and sing in groups until we have a treatment or a vaccine for COVID-19.
All of my in person rehearsals have stopped at the minute, but we were hoping to begin rehearsals again in September. If that turns out not to be possible 2020 is going to be an incredibly difficult year for the local musical theatre community.