2 Choir Members Are Dead & Dozens Have COVID-19 After Rehearsal


60 members of the Skagit Valley Chorale recently met up for rehearsal – now dozens of them have COVID-19 and two are dead.

“It seemed like a normal rehearsal, except that choirs are huggy places,” Adam Burdick, the choir’s conductor, recalled. “We were making music and trying to keep a certain distance between each other.” On March 6, after 2½ hours of practice, the choir parted ways at 9 p.m. Roughly three weeks later, 45 singers have been diagnosed with the coronavirus or sick with the ailments, at least three have been treated, and two are deceased.

The epidemic has shocked county health officials, who have noted that the virus was almost definitely transmitted via the air from one or more persons without symptoms. Eight people who attended the rehearsal said that no one there was sneezing or coughing or seemed ill. Everybody brought their own sheet music and averted direct physical contact. Some singers helped set up or move out folding chairs. Several utilized mandarins that had been laid on a table in the back.

Specialists said the choir outbreak is congruent with an expanding body of evidence that COVID-19 can be transmissible through aerosols — particles tinier than 5 micrometers that can drift in the air for several minutes or longer. A study published on March 17 discovered that when the virus was suspended in a haze under lab conditions it stayed “infectious and viable” for three hours — though, scientists have alleged that in real-world conditions the time period would potentially be no more than a half-hour.


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Aaron Granger


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