Germany Bans Singing Amid Coronavirus Fear
German authorities are warning against singing and several states have banned it from church services over fears it spreads the coronavirus.
The increased production of potentially infectious droplets involved in singing means that choirs are facing a longer shutdown even as shops and restaurants re-open says a report by The Daily Mail.
Lothar Wieler, the head of Germany’s RKI diseases institute, says the droplets can ‘fly particularly far’ when singing.
This conclusion was reached based on some cases such as one in which at least 40 people were infected at a church service in Frankfurt where the congregation had been singing and not wearing masks.
Also, according to Berlin Cathedral choir director Tobias Brommann:
You inhale and exhale very deeply during singing, meaning that ‘if there are virus particles floating in the air then they can get into the lungs relatively quickly.
Brommann and 30 of his choristers were struck down with the virus in early March, with another 30 showing symptoms.
He further said:
We also can’t be sure if those without symptoms were not infected too, as we have not done antibody tests.
The choir had gathered for a rehearsal on March 9 when Berlin had fewer than 50 cases and public events were still permitted.
In recommendations for the resumption of church services, the federal government stated that singing should be avoided ‘because of the increased production of potentially infectious droplets, which can be spread over greater distances’.
Several states have heeded the advice and banned singing from services.
There is also some scientific evidence to suggest that singing produces especially high numbers of potentially infectious micro-particles.
According to a study published in the Nature journal in 2019, saying ‘aah’ for 30 seconds produces twice as many such particles as 30 seconds of coughing.
Singing could also potentially spread the virus at large events such as rock concerts and the Oktoberfest beer festival, where rowdy singing is an integral part of the proceedings, however, these events have already been cancelled for 2020 in Germany.