Skagit valley nightmare

A horribly sad series of events a little north of here:

With the coronavirus quickly spreading in Washington state in early March, leaders of the Skagit Valley Chorale debated whether to go ahead with weekly rehearsal.

The virus was already killing people in the Seattle area, about an hour’s drive to the south.

But Skagit County hadn’t reported any cases, schools and business remained open, and prohibitions on large gatherings had yet to be announced.

So they went ahead with it.

Sixty singers showed up. A greeter offered hand sanitizer at the door, and members refrained from the usual hugs and handshakes.

Yes but…it’s singing. It involves a lot of deep breathing and projecting. I’ve been finding myself holding my breath when people get too close when I’m out for a socially distanced walk.

They rehearsed for 2 1/2 hours.

Nearly three weeks later, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill with the symptoms, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead.

45 out of 60. This thing is scary.

Experts said the choir outbreak is consistent with a growing body of evidence that the virus can be transmitted through aerosols — particles smaller than 5 micrometers that can float in the air for minutes or longer.

I’ve been wondering about that. I’ve been wondering how long the aerosols that come out of runners hang around in the air.

[A] study published March 17 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when the virus was suspended in a mist under laboratory conditions it remained “viable and infectious” for three hours — though researchers have said that time period would probably be no more than a half-hour in real-world conditions.

Half an hour is a long time.

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