The coronavirus is now affecting the music industry. With the World Health Organization now categorizing it as a global pandemic, a large amount of tour cancellations, some states putting a ban on gatherings of over 1,000 and last night’s live stream from the White House… there’s a lot of uncertainty. Live Nation has lost billions at this point and even St. Patrick’s Day parades have been cancelled! So, what are we supposed to do?
The premise of all of this is pretty simple; an infectious disease + a large amount of people = possible mass outbreak but is it really necessary? Whether you believe the media hype or not, we are currently in the midst of a pandemic so it’s unfortunate and putting a hurt on the upcoming summer plans for many, but it does show a responsible attitude in the industry for the health of artists and music lovers. When large crowds gather for any reason, and if you love music you’re one of them, we should do our best to stay healthy! That’s not just for you and me. We have a responsibility to not spread our illness to those who are most affected by not only this virus but all others. Music unites, so let’s stay united… Even when there isn’t a global crisis.
First, let’s look at a few facts surrounding the coronavirus. It began in China and, thanks to our modern ability to travel around the globe, quickly spread. (Pretty sure there’s a Simpsons Episode out there that gives a way more entertaining view of this whole thing… those future seers had it pretty close!) You can bring up the mortality rate vs. the flu or how there does seem to be one of these outbreaks every year there’s a presidential election but – there are no vaccines, no meds to help cut the severity, there’s a possible reinfection rate and let’s face it – it’s getting around faster than a joint at a Grateful Dead concert. Those the most affected by it seem to be the elderly or those with underlying health conditions and most people who get it seem to be recovering but, who wants to be really sick?? Besides, I’m pretty sure none of us want to be the one who brings home the reason we inherit grandma’s china. When we say it’s mostly killing a specific group, just remember that we may know someone in that group and not even realize it. Better safe than sorry.
With all that being said, there’s a bigger picture here. When any large gathering happens we’re exposing ourselves to everything from the common cold to stomach viruses and whatever else may be out there. This is going to affect the music scene more because we are usually at large gatherings for weekend shows or music festivals. There are some common sense ways to fight back at all times and not have to look over our shoulder every time someone coughs.
WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!
Yes, even when there isn’t some crazy outbreak or the CDC isn’t making live announcements to do so…. you really should wash your hands. This includes using soap among other things. We live in a fast paced society and it can be tempting to do a rinse and wipe or even forget to wash our hands, especially when you’re in a crowded bathroom at a venue doing your best not to hold up a line. Reaching for hand sanitizer helps but lathering up with old fashioned soap and water works best with hand sanitizer as a back up. We’re way past the point of worrying about looking silly for singing the ABC’s, counting ‘Mississippi Style” or whatever we do to be sure we stay healthy… and your favorite musician and friends group will silently thank you! Your paycheck and addiction to concert tickets will too since those things aren’t cheap and missing days of work might just make that road trip to follow your favorite band or festival impossible.
Leave the masks at the rave.
Face masks aren’t going to cut it when it comes to the coronavirus, and the real problem is that we all touch our faces without even noticing so the germs from the objects we touch are getting on us. (Really think about how many dollar bills you’ve handled that may have been stuffed in a bra or down a stripper’s…. well… never mind). Those masks are usually used by people who already know they’re sick so they don’t cough on anything and spread their germs. Rubber gloves aren’t doing you any good either, no the germs aren’t getting directly on your hands but there’s that whole ‘touching your face’ thing again. If you want to know just how often and unconsciously we do that check out the video of the CDC spokeswoman and others saying not to touch your face and then immediately doing it!
Take your vitamins and get some rest!
No joke, the focus these days is on health and that includes the music scene. Your overall health matters if you want to enjoy yourself at a local show or three day national festival. We all know we should dress for the weather and bring ear plugs but before you head out the door think of taking a dose of Airborne type over the counter immunity boosters and maybe even take something like Emergen-C in the days leading up to and after the show. Not saying this is how you kill the coronavirus but it will help boost your immune system and keep you healthier. You’re also going to want to get some rest, lower your stress and get some exercise in for the full effect. With all of us night owls burning the candle at both ends that’s pretty typical advice from doctors and daily vitamins don’t hurt either. It’s not just about protecting others, this is also about you. Living your best life means keeping yourself at your best.
Look for symptoms.
No one wants to miss out on fun, especially when you hit adulthood and have to work and do the responsibility thing. If you’re obviously sick you’re most likely getting others sick but don’t forget to look for any symptoms after the fact. I myself came down with a wonderful case of MRSA not long after an event one year that put me pretty close to not being here any more. It didn’t stop me from attending shows once I got better but often we ignore signs of illness when we shouldn’t and it doesn’t really occur to us that it only takes one person to infect a host of others. If you start to notice a cough, sinus issue, rash or any other thing you don’t usually have – don’t play it off. If you were just around a huge group of people noticing signs of illness could help you cut that time on your sick bed in half just by paying attention and taking something for it.
Don’t forget to post sanitize
This might sound like a lot but remember that currently we’re in an outbreak and while some are saying regular sprays aren’t going to help kill this strand of coronavirus, they will kill other germs. When you get home change your clothes, take a shower and disinfect the items you took with you from car keys to cell phones. We live in an age of sprays and wipes so it’s not that time consuming and it’s way better than ending up in quarantine. Photographers and musicians – don’t forget to wipe down your gear, bags, and eye pieces. Welcome to the adult version of “The Floor is Lava”!
Put Yourself in Quarantine – Sort of
It’s being said that the closures and self quarantines are going to help lessen the spread of coronavirus. We all have those events we don’t want to miss and friends will want to see us but if you’re sick, coronavirus or not, you’re not going to enjoy it as much and you’re probably going to infect others. Sit out the show, grab some soup and binge Netflix. Yeah, I know, it sucks but imagine you’re a silent hero of an outbreak. You are that lone savior who shuts the door so that others can live!! (Or you’re at least not that grumpy guy who brigs down the energetic vibe of the night..??) Do a self check each morning. Deep breath and hold for ten seconds. Did that hurt or cause a coughing fit? Are you achy or tired for no reason? Self care matters but it goes beyond face masks and relaxation.
This isn’t a complete list or precautions and it’s not meant to chastise. (Well, maybe if your’e one of those responsible for the current toilet paper outage it is. BUY A FREAKING BIDET ALREADY!! It’s cheaper, better for the environment and seriously… if society breaks down tomorrow THAT is what you’re worried about??? The coronavirus is a respiratory issue people, not intestinal.) It’s just a PSA to help people remember that there’s really a lot we can do to stay healthy.
We tend to think we’re indestructible until we aren’t. We usually believe we’re doing our best to stay clean and healthy but the outbreak of illness is happening so we may be mistaken. There’s no need to panic, just take some precautions and make sure to take extra steps when there’s something going around in your area. No need to lock yourself away, stock pile, or spray down strangers on the street with Lysol. Common sense and preparation will keep you much safer than fear and panic.
** Please note that this is not meant to be a complete list. Follow the CDC and WHO advice on the best ways to beat this virus and stay healthy all year long!
Jana Lee Macheca (aka Lady Jaye) is the owner and editor of First Angel Media as well as professional photographer and writer. Having worked in national and local levels of music media her goal is to provide professional coverage for bands of all levels.