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When will we see the return of in-person concerts?

Hayley Simonson, Police Reporter

Lets face it – virtual concerts just aren’t the same as experiencing your favorite artists in person, but with the nature of coronavirus, in-person concerts continue to pose a threat for high transmission rates.

“The CDC as well as state and local officials will provide the guidance as to when concerts and music festivals will be allowed, and under what circumstances,” UNF Student Health Services director Valerie Morrison said. “As of now, all large gatherings are strongly discouraged.”

Because of the nature of traditional concerts, they are considered superspreader events. There is little to no personal space at them and there’s a constant flow of respiratory droplets as people sing or speak loudly to each other. Large groups of people are standing close together for extended periods of time, while screaming. People would also have a need to keep removing their masks to drink or eat. 

To change and modify these elements of traditional concerts is possible for a safer experience, but it also really changes the entire experience that people pay for and expect. 

Experts have weighed in that for traditional concerts to be as safe as possible again, there needs to be herd immunity established. Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from infectious disease that occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection, whether through vaccination or previous infections, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity.

The U.S. is currently far away from the point of herd immunity until we officially receive the vaccine and 75% of the population is either inoculated or has had the virus. 

To try and go back to concerts without that level of herd immunity could potentially cost many lives and overflow hospitals, which could lead to more destruction of the economy and a number of long-term health challenges for those who survive severe cases.

Outdoor concerts will probably return first because of their potential for good air flow and safe distancing. The news of the new COVID-19 vaccine has been hopeful, but many experts keep emphasizing how it won’t shield everyone from the disease and face masks will need to continue to be an important part of our lives for a while, especially in high risk situations. 

As concerts slowly come back, we could witness face masks being required at them for a while. Reduced crowding and lower capacity could potentially be on the table as well. 

There’s still a lot of uncertainty with how concerts will return in the midst of the pandemic, but what we do know is that the live music industry will recover slowly but surely. 

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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