Dr. Ezekiel "Zeke" Emanuel, a special adviser to the director general of the World Health Organization, has once again said that he doesn't anticipate it to be safe to return to concerts, sporting events and other mass public gatherings for another 18 months.
Researchers insist that things like concerts and packed stadiums cannot happen until there is a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, which looks to be at least a year away.
"If 1% of the population has COVID-19 and half are asymptomatic, that’s 250 people in a stadium of 50,000, all touching chairs, eating food, talking and jumping and shouting. Is there is a better place for spreading disease?" Emanuel said in a new interview with the Los Angeles Times.
"Going back to those situations, for all of us who love concerts, it's hard to see how to do that without a vaccine."
According to Emanuel, reopening the country's economy and mitigating spread of the deadly coronavirus will require a multi-step approach that would ban public attendance of sporting events, concerts and large events until there's widespread testing and a vaccine for COVID-19.
"We'll begin opening up with social interactions while wearing face masks. If we're probably bending the top of curve, [that's] four to six weeks at the absolute earliest," Emanuel said. With more time and testing, "maybe you can later have a venue of 2,000 people where you put in 500 and spread them out with masks and protection. But you've got to vaccinate 70% of the population to get back to pre-COVID, and you may have to shut down some businesses that reopen. It's a roller coaster, and you want those hills to be as gentle as possible."
During a press briefing Tuesday (April 14), California Governor Gavin Newsom indicated there is no specific timeline for modifying restrictions that have been placed response to the coronavirus outbreak, but said concerts and mass gathering events are the last things to go back to normal. His comments were in line with those of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who suggested earlier in the week that "large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events may not be approved in the city for at least one year."
As the coronavirus disease continues to spread, live event organizers have been canceling or postponing large gatherings, including concerts and festivals.
Entertainers, crew and other workers in the industry have already lost billions of dollars as a result of COVID-19-related cancelations, representing only a small fraction of the financial devastation that will be experienced by workers in the sector as cancelations continue to roll in.
According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities.
Public health experts have repeatedly expressed their concern that Americans are underestimating how long the coronavirus pandemic will disrupt everyday life in the country.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the the head of the National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases and part of the White House's coronavirus task force, has said a vaccine may be 12-18 months away, but other experts said it could take even longer.