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New study reveals how to stop COVID-19 from spreading during band class

Worried about COVID-19 spreading during band class? Here’s how to stop it

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Members of the Mariachi band Los Changuitos Feos (Ugly Little Monkeys) in Tucson, Ariz.

Members of the Mariachi band Los Changuitos Feos (Ugly Little Monkeys) are reflected in the bell of a trumpet as they perform for parishioners in the courtyard of St. Augustine Cathedral on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021 in Tucson, Ariz. Playing musical instruments may lead to COVID-19 spread, but simple tactics can stop the spread.

Darryl Webb, Associated Press

Playing musical instruments may lead to COVID-19 spread, but simple tactics can stop the spread.

A new study — published in the journal ACS Environmental Au — says simple safety measures can stop COVID-19 spread while playing musical instruments. 

University of Colorado Boulder and University of Maryland researchers found that masking instruments and social distancing can reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread when kids play musical instruments and emit COVID-19 viral particles.

  • “COVID has shown people that aerosol transmission of respiratory diseases is something that happens. But just because it goes into the air doesn’t mean that everyone is going to contract this disease. We found that there are ways to mitigate these aerosols in a space and ways to reduce your risk,” said Tehya Stockman, lead author of the paper, according to the statement.

The research began when the University of Colorado Boulder and University of Maryland looked into whether playing musical instruments can create the same risks of COVID-19 spread as singing.

There haven’t been any major reports of infections from playing instruments. But the researchers wanted to see what they could recommend.

  • “I want to acknowledge the courage of the music directors and the teachers to go ahead and follow our suggestions in the face of all of this adversity, fear and worry,” said Shelly Miller, co-author of the study and professor of mechanical and environmental engineering. “That really meant a lot to us because they trusted our very good research methods, our researchers and the evolution of science as it moves from: we don’t know, to, let’s find out, to OK — now we know this.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 can spread easily when other people with COVID-19 infections cough, sneeze, sing or talk, since those actions create respiratory droplets.

The droplets can then spread the virus from one person to another. Those droplets often need to be inhaled or deposited through mucous membranes to infect someone, as I wrote for the Deseret News.