Much of the country has begun to emerge from coronavirus shutdown (including NYC, where phase one of reopening began today), but we likely still have a while to wait before shows can return, at least in the way we remember them. Back in April, one expert predicted that concerts and other live events wouldn't be able to happen until fall 2021, and various people working in the live event field seem to be giving up on holding any this year. Now, the New York Times has asked over 500 epidemiologists when they expect to return to a variety of activities that have been put on hold amid the pandemic. Some, including getting haircuts, going to the doctor for non-urgent appointments, and going on an overnight trip within driving distance, a pluarality of the 511 epidemiologists polled said they anticipated doing this summer. Others, including working in an office with other people, traveling by subway, bus, or plane, eating at restaurants, and working out in a gym, a majority thought they'd do later in the year, or in three to twelve months. Concerts, however, along with sporting events, Broadway plays, and weddings, were among the things those polled said they'd wait the longest to do, with 64% saying they expected to wait a year or more before going to a show.

"These are some of the highest-risk activities and probably attract more risk-embracing people," Vivian Towe of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute said to the Times about going to concerts, sporting events, and plays. "The addition of alcohol or drugs makes these activities too risky for me to consider anytime soon."

Steve Mooney of University of Washington told the Times, "This is as much about feelings of social responsibility as about personal infection risk. Large-scale gatherings are a contact tracing nightmare and seem like they should be shut down until we have a really good sense of what's safe/how to screen people."

While many epidemiologists the Times contacted declined to participate in the survey, some because "they were uncomfortable making predictions based on time because they didn’t want to guess the timing of certain treatments or infection data," it does seem likely that we have a while to wait, still, before shows, touring, and festivals happen at any sort of scale again. In the mean time, there's drive-in shows, livestreams... and perhaps this protective suit.

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