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New research on COVID-19 and wind instruments

July 9th, 2021

New research on COVID-19 and wind instruments

New research on COVID-19 and wind instruments

New research on COVID-19 and wind instruments

On 29 June 2021 an article was published setting out research and findings related to the playing of wind instruments and COVID-19 transmission. The study was carried out in the UK by a collaboration of several universities. The full article may be found here:

Aerosol and Droplet Generation from Performing with Woodwind and Brass Instruments

And this is an excerpt from the conclusions, although the full article needs to be read to obtain the context and to be aware of the caveats:

"Consequently, aerosol number and mass generated during instrument playing is of similar magnitude to that produced by breathing and is lower than that associated with singing and speaking at high volume. Moreover, large droplets (>20 μm diameter, measured using water-sensitive paper) were not observed during instrument playing but were observed during singing and coughing. Taken together, these observations suggest playing woodwind and brass instruments generate less aerosol than singing or speaking at high volume levels."*

We hope that as the UK opens up again over the coming months the regulations governing instrument performance will take note of the results of this and other studies.

If you would like to delve further into this issue, research has also been carried out in the USA on a similar theme:

Unprecedented International Coalition led by Performing Arts Organizations to Commission COVID-19 Study 

*Lauren P. McCarthy, Christopher M. Orton, Natalie A. Watson, Florence K. A. Gregson, Allen E. Haddrell, William J. Browne, James D. Calder, Declan Costello, Jonathan P. Reid, Pallav L. Shah & Bryan R. Bzdek(2021) Aerosol and Droplet Generation from Performing with Woodwind and Brass Instruments, Aerosol Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1080/02786826.2021.1947470

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