A Look at the Unique Viral Transmission Dynamics of Performing Artists

A group of researchers at Colorado State University (CSU) is using a “human exposure facility” to determine steps that performing artists can take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Artists, such as brass players, theatre actors, and singers often use forced-air breathing while performing, which may lead to a more rapid spread of aerosolized SARS-CoV-2 particles. At least one study suggests that aerosolized viral particles can travel up to 13 feet.Led by John Volckens, Ph.D., Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Daniel Goble, D.M.A, director at the School of Music, Theatre and Dance, the study aims to quantify potential spread from performing artists and identify the best risk-mitigation techniques. It also hopes to better understand the size and composition of aerosolized particles, differences between sexes, and differences among instruments.

CSU's mechanical engineering students first built a human exposure facility, a unique construct in which aerosolized particles can be measured. A wide range of performing artists were recruited to participate in the study and asked to sing, act, or play an instrument inside the exposure facility. The researchers also tested ...

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