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Monday, November 29, 2021

Opinion

Musicians should pause live performances for COVID-19 safety


Musicians should pause live performances for COVID-19 safety

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

For the past few months, many musicians have started performing again and fans are happy to see their favorite bands live. However, it’s irresponsible for musicians to come into a city struggling with COVID-19 only to hold crowded, unsafe events.

Lollapalooza took place in the summer with over 385,000 people, according to NBC. While there were required vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests, there were still attendees who tested positive after the event. 

There was a period of time where the cases lessened to almost a plateau, likely due to vaccinations. COVID-19 cases have been going up everywhere since the summer, according to the New York Times. Locations and businesses loosened up on mask mandates while a new variant arose.

The delta variant makes up a majority of U.S. COVID-19 cases now, according to the CDC. COVID-19 is still nothing to scoff at. Cases are rising everywhere, including Houston.

Harris County deemed COVID-19 a Level 1 threat in the county, the most severe threat level. Yet, the entertainment business doesn’t seem to care. Harry Styles, an artist that no doubt would have drawn large crowds, was going to have a concert in Houston if the weather didn’t cancel the event.

There are still numerous concerts to be held in the Houston area at large event halls, anticipating crowds.

It’s understandable for fans to want to go see their favorite band or artist. It’s also understandable for musicians to want to tour and perform. Nevertheless, it’s irresponsible to hold these big events when there’s a COVID-19 variant that even vaccinated people can get. 

The main reason it is irresponsible is more COVID-19 cases will mean less available medical resources for hospital patients. The intensive care units in the Texas Medical Center are struggling to find bed spaces for patients. COVID-19 hospitalizations have gone down in the past couple of weeks, but are plateauing higher than normal. 

There’s also a nurse shortage. Even if hospitals set up tents with beds, there might not be any nurses available to treat patients. 

It is important to remember these beds taken up by COVID-19 patients would often be taken by someone awaiting an important surgery. There are people waiting on procedures that they cannot get due to the lack of space in the hospitals.

It’s unacceptable for musicians to come to a city with struggling hospitals and medical staff due to COVID-19, only to hold crowded events that will increase cases and the workload of that staff. 

Florida Georgia Line canceled their fall tour because they were concerned about COVID-19 safety. Other artists and groups touring the United States should do the same for the sake of the health of the communities they visit.  

Many venues are not requiring face coverings or vaccinations including NRG. While the venues may encourage social distancing on their websites, it is difficult to do that during a full capacity concert. As cases go up in the communities, it’s not a good idea to hold these events.  

Anna Baker is an English senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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