The performing arts has been badly affected during the COVID chaos with live musical performances canceled for many months because singing was identified as a potential “higher risk” activity, but new research shows that singing does not produce more respiratory particles than when speaking at a similar volume.
The findings are crucial in providing COVID-19 guidance for live musical performances and the safe distancing of performers and audiences. looked at the amounts of aerosols and droplets generated by a group of 25 professional performers completing a range of exercises including breathing, speaking, coughing and singing.
They found that there is a steep rise in aerosol mass with increase in the loudness of the singing and speaking, rising by as much as a factor of 20 to 30X
However, singing does not produce substantially more aerosol than speaking at a similar volume. There were no significant differences in aerosol production between genders or among different genres including choral, musical theater, opera, choral, jazz, gospel, rock and pop.
“Our research has provided a rigorous scientific basis for COVID-19 recommendations for arts venues to operate safely for both the performers and audience by ensuring that spaces are appropriately ventilated to reduce the risk of airborne transmission,” said Jonathan Reid, Director of ESPRC Center for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science and orresponding author on the paper.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden agreed. He said, “Singing and playing music are passions for many people who will welcome the findings of this important study, which shows that there are no heightened risks associated with these activities.”
Have a healthy weekend, Keep the Faith!
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