As Gov. Ron DeSantis weighs when to move ahead with lifting additional coronavirus restrictions, a report issued Tuesday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted how contagious the virus can be in group settings.
The CDC studied an outbreak that stemmed from a choir practice in Washington state. Adults attended one or two 2.5-hour sessions in early March in Skagit County. While the report said no one reported having physical contact, choir members sat near each other, shared snacks and sang during the session.
“Among 61 persons who attended a March 10 choir practice at which one person was known to be symptomatic, 53 cases were identified, including 33 confirmed and 20 probable cases (secondary attack rates of 53.3% among confirmed cases and 86.7% among all cases),” the CDC reported. “Three of the 53 persons who became ill were hospitalized (5.7%), and two died (3.7%). The 2.5-hour singing practice provided several opportunities for droplet and fomite transmission, including members sitting close to one another, sharing snacks, and stacking chairs at the end of the practice. The act of singing, itself, might have contributed to transmission through emission of aerosols, which is affected by loudness of vocalization.”
The CDC report said the incident is a reminder of why certain activities need to be discouraged. “This underscores the importance of physical distancing, including maintaining at least 6 feet between persons, avoiding group gatherings and crowded places, and wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain during this pandemic,” the report said.
Florida last week started the first phase of reopening its economy, a move that allowed many retailers and restaurants to reopen after being closed for the previous month. Barber shops and hair salons were allowed to reopen on Monday. Florida has not mandated that people wear face coverings as part of the reopening.
–FlaglerLive and News Service of Florida