Recommendation: “That There Not Be Large Crowds” to Combat COVID-19
As is often the case, I am schizophrenically working on two articles: the review of this past weekend’s Gasparilla Music Festival in Tampa and the preview of the Dunedin Brewery Spring Beer Jam. And our staff is gearing up for festival season and lots of tours by names big and small on the music scene.
Meanwhile, this question is looming larger and larger:
Was Gasparilla the last music festival I’ll attend for the foreseeable future?
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recommended “that there not be large crowds” to limit the spread of the virus. This means banning large public gatherings for now. Different areas are setting limits currently, although all of that might change at any moment. Some are limiting attendance to 1000, others to 250.
“If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it. But as a public health official, anything that has large crowds is something that would give a risk to spread,” he explained. “We have to change our behavior. We have to basically assume that we’re going to get hit.”
Consider: SXSX cancelled. Coachella postponed until October. Ultra cancelled, although it appears that means they will reschedule. March Madness will play — to arenas empty of fans. And then, tonight, the NBA suspended their season until further notice.
So what is further notice? We have no idea. The politicians have no idea (or they are lying). Even the health care professionals can only give us their best estimates. But we are carefully watching Italy, where the entire country is on lockdown. The spread of the virus there is exponential, which means numbers are skyrocketing (that’s the non-math explanation). Consider that they shot up from two cases to 17 to 100 and now to 12,000+.
Live Real-time Explosion of Corona virus! As counties shut down and millions could be at risk. Let's Pray the Rosary to End the Corona virus! Our Lady can do it!
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This certainly affects us music fans everywhere, but we are small potatoes in the greater scheme of musical things. Bands, roadies, sound engineers, stage techs, security staff, venue personnel, bar staff, agents — and that list is hardly exhaustive — will all be adversely affected.
Universities are going virtual. School systems are closing for an amount of time unknown. Many workers who can do so are encouraged to work from home. We have no idea how all of this will shake out. MLB? NHL?
There is only one fact on which we should agree: we must all be diligent, following the recommendations of health care professionals and keeping ourselves healthy so that we can help our family and friends do the same. Will we miss shows? Yes, dammit. Festivals? Again, yes. But the sooner we can ride out this pandemic, the sooner we should be able to return to some sense of normalcy.
It might also change the best practice of PUFF, PUFF, PASS. At least for a while.