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30 of 41 members of Spanish choir infected with coronavirus after rehearsal

At least 30 of 41 members of a gospel choir in northeastern Spain have become infected with the coronavirus following an indoor rehearsal where there was little ventilation, local authorities and the chorus say.

The River Troupe Gospel, a volunteer gospel group, rehearsed Sept. 11, two days before an open-air performance at a festival in Sallent, a town about 40 miles north of Barcelona. It was the choir’s first public performance since the beginning of the pandemic.

After one member of the chorus tested positive following the Sept. 13 performance, more than 40 other members and their close contacts went into isolation, the chorus said. Since then, at least 30 singers have tested positive, the Sallent municipal government said.

Although the chorus insists that it complied with most health safety measures — temperature checks on arrival, hand-washing, social distancing between each member and masks on for most of the rehearsal — the venue’s windows were closed to keep out moths and mosquitoes. The group said it had switched on air-conditioning to fight the heat.

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It was not known if any relatives of the singers also became infected.

Experts have acknowledged that in certain circumstances, such as during medical procedures or when people are in indoor spaces singing or shouting, COVID-19 can spread in the air.

The deadly outbreak among members of a choir has stunned health officials, who have concluded that the virus was almost certainly transmitted through the air from one or more people without symptoms.

Choir practices in the U.S., for example, have been identified as super-spreading events in which hundreds of people were later sickened by the coronavirus.

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The Sallent town hall believes there was no risk infection during the Sept. 13 performance because it was held outdoors with required safety measures.

Spain is battling a second wave of the coronavirus, which is spreading faster there than anywhere else in Europe. The country is set to surpass 700,000 cases Thursday and has a confirmed death toll of 31,034.


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