DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. This post is compiled from thorough research and the conclusions I reached based on that research.
Information on SARS-CoV-2 virus / COVID-19 disease
The new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has exploded into a global pandemic. Many countries around the world are now in a state of emergency and trying to prepare themselves for the rough road ahead.
COVID-19 is not “just the flu”, a closer comparison can be made to the 2003 SARS epidemic. Current projections show that the virus is many times more likely to result in severe illness requiring hospitalization and potentially death when compared to regular seasonal flu, and it’s significantly more catching than a common cold.
While the majority of cases show those who are in general good health will be unlikely to require medical intervention, the elderly and those with underlying medical issues will have a significantly elevated risk of suffering severely or death.
Containment measures have not stopped the spread of the virus and healthcare systems around the world (including our own) are under-prepared for the potential effects of this outbreak at scale.
Behaviours need to change across the entire population in order to slow the spread of the virus to a manageable level, this will reduce the strain on our already stretched healthcare system.
The UK government guidance on this outbreak has been weak at best, at worst, dangerous. Anyone who has been paying attention to the unfolding situation is already implementing social distancing measures despite government resistance saying that “it’s too early”.
Though now the term “peacetime” is being used – as if to prepare us all for the upcoming “wartime” measures that will be rolled out following an emergency bill being pushed through parliament to give the government additional powers in an attempt to control the speed of the outbreak.
If you’re an employee with pre-existing health risks or getting on in age, you should strongly consider asking your employer if you are able to work remotely and self isolate.
In the upcoming weeks anyone over the age of 70 will likely be asked to self-isolate for months to prevent them catching the virus. If you have elderly friends and relatives, use social media or call them in order to check up on them regularly and make sure they have everything they need.
Live Events, Conferences and Travel
Live events and conferences both locally and internationally will be affected by the spread of this virus. As behaviours change, more people will opt to heed the warnings of experts and implement social distancing.
Turnout to events will likely be lower if the events are to go ahead. Mass gatherings where there are a high density of people will need to have a thorough risk assessment done and chances are they should be cancelled.
International touring will become increasingly difficult, and potentially impossible as more travel restrictions are enforced.
This is not to say that there is no demand for music performances – quite the contrary. Music will be a great motivator through the turbulent times ahead, and will help many get through the ongoing isolation worldwide.
With current streaming technology it is possible to live stream video from anywhere with an internet connection. This can be used to connect and engage with audiences without coming into direct physical contact.
While traditional video stream is no true replacement to the experience of being at a live event, virtual reality (VR) technology is coming along in leaps and bounds. Currently, home VR is in the same price range as console gaming. It has become significantly more accessible as developments have been made in the field.
If you’re wondering how this relates to music, VR concerts are now a reality. As e-commerce integrates with VR, we will see merch stands at these virtual concerts that may take orders to ship to customers, or sell digital goods.
The music industry involves a significant amount of working closely with others. Travel restrictions mean that it may become impossible to even get a few people together for a group jam session in the worse case scenario.
The internet will keep us all connected despite social distancing and potentially physical isolation, and there are many innovative creators that are developing solutions for problems faced by the music industry moving into a digital age.
Jammr is software in beta that enables musicians to jam together online in real time.
BandLab is a platform that allows musicians to work in a web-based DAW environment and make songs from each others recordings and projects.
Office spaces are up there with schools and conferences for population density. If your work environment has no set desk policies, then even more caution should be taken.
There may come a time where offices will need to be shut down. Businesses using office space should consider how to make remote working possible for any roles that could be completed remotely.
This may mean setting up VPN access to your network and providing laptops and headsets for employees who need them so they can work from home.
How to help
You can spread good hand washing practice using Wash Your Lyrics to generate an infographic poster with your lyrics on it!
Don’t stockpile excessively, other people need essentials too.
If you start to feel ill, you should self-isolate to prevent further spread of the infection.
Engage with people around you and keep morale up, as stress and depression will weaken your immune system.