sxsw crowd 2013
[Photo by: Anna Hanks/Wikimedia Commons]

The state of live music is dire at the moment due to the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and while bands have been rescheduling shows for later in 2020 after mass event cancellations relating to large gathering bans, the situation is going to look a lot worse according to a coronavirus expert.

In a New York Times story discussing the impacts of the virus, the topic of live music came up and experts are saying its unlikely events will happen until fall 2021.

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Oncologist and bioethicist Zeke Emanuel is suggesting that events scheduled throughout 2020 will need to be pushed off once again.

“Restarting the economy has to be done in stages, and it does have to start with more physical distancing at a work site that allows people who are at lower risk to come back. Certain kinds of construction, or manufacturing or offices, in which you can maintain six-foot distances are more reasonable to start sooner. Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility. I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically, we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”

With the constantly evolving situation, this too could change. With world leaders and health experts saying society won’t go back to normal until a vaccine is developed though, it could be a while until we see event bans lifted.

The general consensus from health experts is that a vaccine won’t be available for 12 to 18 months. Taking the start of 2020 to that time frame, 12 to 18 months lines up with Emanuel’s estimate.

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In an interview with The Guardian, president and CEO of Management Sciences for Health Marian Wentworth reiterates what we’ve been hearing constantly since the pandemic took over. The Massachusetts-based organization focuses on building resilient health systems and observing vaccine developments.

“It really depends on what you mean by ‘having a vaccine’,” she says. “If you mean one that can be used in a mass vaccination campaign, allowing us all to get on with our lives, then 12 to 18 months is probably right.”

Emergency rules made by drug regulatory agencies and the World Health Organization allow for exceptions though. Health care workers could have a vaccine ready within weeks or months. This happened with the Ebola outbreaks across Africa a few years back. Vaccines for regular citizens though will wait through full testing procedures.

So, expect there to be livestreamed concerts for a very long time. For other events such as sports, the situation could be altered slightly down the line though.

At the moment, sports leagues aren’t operating but the leagues are staying hopeful. Some hope they can resume later in the year without audiences. Right now, that isn’t possible but later in the year the situation could change to allow this. Concerts on the other hand, can’t happen without an audience.

Do you think this is a realistic timeframe for when we’re going to be attending concerts again? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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