In April, with the COVD-19 pandemic still in its infancy, oncologist and bioethicist Zeke Emanual suggested that large community gatherings, like live performances, would likely not be safe until “fall. 2021 at the earliest ”. At the time, most of us greeted this news with horrified disbelief. But after months of uncertainty, fall 2021 does not seem so far away. Last weekend, Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s most trusted pandemic authority, confirmed that live music could potentially return in the fall. At this point, that counts as good news.
Le New York Times reports that Fauci had a virtual conference on Saturday with people from the performing arts world. During that call, Fauci gave a vague timeline for when music halls and theaters could reopen. The American authorities will have to vaccinate somewhere between 70 and 85% of the population, which will bring us to collective immunity.
Here’s what Fauci said:
Hopefully this will happen in the fall of 2021, so by the time we get there from early to mid-fall, you can have people who feel safe on stage as well as people in the audience. … I think you can then start to return to almost full seating capacity. We will be back in theaters – the performers will perform, the audiences will benefit. It will happen.
That’s probably not very heartwarming for artists like The Weeknd, Rage Against The Machine, and Justin Bieber, who postponed arena tours from last summer to the summer of 2021. Fauci’s reassuring words also assume that the COVID vaccines will be effectively deployed, and this has not yet happened. Yet it is Something.