Dr. Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel, a special adviser to the director general of the World Health Organization, has once again said that he doesn’t anticipate it to be safe to return to concerts, sporting events and other mass public gatherings for another 18 months.
In a new interview with the Los Angeles Times, Emanuel said: “If 1% of the population has COVID-19 and half are asymptomatic, that’s 250 people in a stadium of 50,000, all touching chairs, eating food, talking and jumping and shouting. Is there is a better place for spreading disease?”
“Going back to those situations, for all of us who love concerts, it’s hard to see how to do that without a vaccine.”
Emanuel previously told New York Times: “Restarting the economy has to be done in stages, and it does have to start with more physical distancing at a work site that allows people who are at lower risk to come back,” Emanuel said. “Certain kinds of construction, or manufacturing or offices, in which you can maintain six-foot distances are more reasonable to start sooner.
“Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility. I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest. Restaurants where you can space tables out, maybe sooner.”
During an April 14 press briefing, California Governor Gavin Newsom indicated there is no specific timeline for modifying restrictions that have been placed response to the coronavirus outbreak, but said concerts and mass gathering events are the last things to go back to normal.
“The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and we get to a vaccine,” he said. “So large-scale events that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers, all together across every conceivable difference, health and otherwise, is not in the cards based upon our current guidelines and current expectations.”