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Choir practice leaves two dead, dozens more with COVID-19 symptoms

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A decision to go ahead with a choir practice earlier this month in the United States has had devastating consequences.

Two people are dead and dozens more have COVID-19 symptoms, after a choir practice in Seattle earlier this month.

As coronavirus spread through Washington state in early March, the Skagit Valley Chorale debated whether or not to go ahead with the session for the group, which has 121 members.

At the time the local community hadn't reported any COVID-19 cases, while schools and business were open, and there were no bans on public gatherings.

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According to the Los Angeles Times, the choir's conductor, Adam Burdick, informed the group on March 6 that the practice would go ahead despite the "stress and strain of concerns about the virus."

"I'm planning on being there this Tuesday March 10, and hoping many of you will be, too," he wrote.

Sixty people attended the rehearsal, which lasted for more than two hours. Hand sanitiser was available, and hugs and handshakes were banned.

Three weeks later, 45 of those who attended have reported COVID-19 symptoms, and two have died, both aged in their 80s.

Local health officials say the virus was likely spread through the air from people who weren't displaying symptoms.

The Los Angeles Times reports that nobody was coughing or sneezing at the rehearsal, and nobody appeared sick, while everybody had their own sheet music and avoided physical contact.

One expert believes that the more forceful breathing involved when singing may have made it easier for the disease to spread.

"One could imagine that really trying to project your voice would also project more droplets and aerosols," he said.

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Source: 9News

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