The federal health agency backs off its guideline even though a single choir practice in Washington state infected 52 people and led to 2 deaths.
By Mary Papenfuss
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday suddenly dropped its warning about the risk of choirs spreading COVID-19 at religious services after being told to do so by White House officials, The Washington Post reported.
The warning was omitted even though choirs can become “super-spreader” events infecting large groups of people at once. Singing can increase the intensity of “aerosol emission” of the coronavirus. Nearly all 61 members of a choir in Washington state became infected with COVID-19 after a single rehearsal in March, a CDC study found. Two people died.
The CDC just last Friday issued safety guidelines for restarting religious services. It recommended then that religious communities “consider suspending or at least decreasing use of choir/musical ensembles and congregant singing, chanting, or reciting during services or other programming.” (The original guidelines are available via web archive.)
The “act of singing may contribute to transmission of COVID-19, possibly through emission of aerosols,” the CDC warned.
But those guidelines suddenly vanished.