Third report issued by coalition studying musicians and spread of COVID-19 aerosols

Posted on: November 18, 2020

“The National Federation of State High School Associations, the College Band Directors National Association, and a coalition of more than 125 performing arts organizations,” including the League of American Orchestras, have been collaborating on a study at the University of Colorado and the University of Maryland of how coronavirus spreads among musicians and performers, reports Sarah Shay in Monday’s (11/16) Musical America (subscription required). The latest study, “released on Nov. 13, concentrates on the distribution of respiratory aerosol generated while playing wind instruments, singing, acting, speaking, and dancing. Among the key findings: instrumentalists who wear surgical masks with a slit for the mouthpiece and use an appropriate bell cover can reduce aerosol emissions between 60 and 90 percent.… Plexiglass partitions or barriers between musicians may lead to aerosol build up and are not recommended due to HVAC system design limitations…. Masks should be worn by [musicians], and masks/bell covers should be on instruments; CDC distancing guidelines of 6 feet by 6 feet, with 9 feet by 6 feet for trombone players, should be followed.… Rehearsals should be limited to 30 minutes…. Outdoor activity remains ideal for air flow…. Hygiene … is essential.” A final report is expected in January 2021.