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Arrangement and ventilation

Roxanne Minnish / Pexels

Putting musicians in certain places on stage and opening as many doors and windows as possible can greatly reduce the risk of orchestra members becoming infected with the novel coronavirus. Based on earlier measurements of potentially infectious particles emitted by the musical instruments in an orchestra, a group led by Tony Saad from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, USA, used computer modeling to project how air moves in a concert hall and which positions best protect the group. Some arrangements reduced the concentration of potentially infectious particles on stage by about 100 times, from 1 per liter of air to 0.001 per liter (Science Advances, June 23). The strategy was tested by the Utah Symphony Orchestra, which moved the percussion instruments, harp, and piano to the center of the stage and wind instruments to the edges near the air vents (ScienceNews, June 23).