At this point, it would be fair to say that most people understand the basics of COVID-19. It is a severe virus that is extremely contagious and extremely deadly. As the honorable Joe Biden mentioned recently, the virus has killed 120 million people in the US. The government has demonstrated using many statistics that this is the worst pandemic in human history. We know that the virus can be transmitted via airborne droplets, so why don’t we have much stricter policies limiting its spread???

Throughout the US, state governments and localities are placing mild restrictions such as mask mandates on their citizens. This is barely effective, though. Even the best masks – N95s and surgical masks – are not totally effective against COVID-19 due to the virus being much smaller even than the holes on the N95 mask (0.1 microns is much smaller than 0.3 microns). Mask mandates and social distancing policies are not enough, especially considering that they are hardly being enforced. 

On July 2, the Sacramento Bee reported that Governor Newsome banned singing in church. This was a wise decision, because singing spreads the virus even more than normal speech, due to the increased exhalation required to sing. California and the other 49 states should be taking much more aggressive measures, though. Just like opening your throat and letting out loud noises could increase transmission of this deadly virus, dancing and other forms of exercise could increase transmission even more. 

western dancing

When a person dances, runs, lifts weights, or trains in martial arts, gymnastics, or any other exercise, their muscles require much more blood, oxygen, and nutrients than they normally do. This causes the heart and lungs to begin working much harder. Breaths become much deeper and more frequent in order to move more oxygen into the body and to remove carbon dioxide from the body. Even if a person is alone in a gym or at home, this increased exhalation of air that could contain virus particles lingers in the air for a long time, meaning that the next person to enter that room could be exposed to the virus. 

We should strongly consider ending the dangerous practice of organized sports altogether. In professional football, basketball, and hockey, players are in extremely close proximity to each other while also breathing very heavily. Even if this pandemic does end, this behavior is the perfect breeding ground for the next pandemic. But it gets much worse: Crowded stadiums with 100,000 fans yelling excitedly while being extremely close to one another is like paradise for a virus looking to spread to new hosts. The same could be said for concerts. Until we can find a 100% effective vaccine for every potential pathogen, the government must place a moratorium on all such events. They simply cannot allow people to gather in such unhealthy ways until we can get a grip on infectious diseases!

If we are serious about doing whatever it takes to flatten the curve, we must include an indefinite ban on all singing, dancing, and exercising into our definition of ‘the new normal’. I know that it’s difficult, but we must trust the government and the experts and this will all be over soon!