Coronavirus, what might it mean to Banding

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
I read this and that about Coronavirus and generally think that the issue is so complex and diverse that it’s difficult for folk to know the right and responsible way forward. We are talking about an illness that can and does kill and one who’s progress and carriers aren’t particularly apparent. So far spread in the U.K. is behind many other countries and perhaps we will cope with it better than them, however I wonder if our actions are responsibly holding back against the unnecessary or complacency.

Should Banding Contests and Concerts go ahead? Will there be a point at which we cancel rehearsals? I don’t know the answers but on another forum based in another country musicians there are cancelling their gatherings. Many of the posts there basically say I’m past sixty (so in the more at risk group), haven’t perfect health and if I catch this virus I’ll die - serious comments and not from posters that are given to drama. I find this BBC article interesting ( UK virus measures will have 'biggest impact' ), Jeremy Hunt (former Health Minister), has the view that we should be doing more now - I happen to agree with him - but there are valid counter arguments.

It is important that we avoid unnecessary disruption to the economy, a drop in economic activity results in a tax take drop and in turn there will be less available to society to fund the things that Government supplys to the nation. Individuals will also feel financial pain when customers stop calling on their services, many people only have a small financial buffer and them having reduced funds to (say) pay their rent or buy their food also has social consequences. On the other hand failure to take sufficient action early enough will result in more (ie. additional to what it might otherwise have been) illness and death from Coronavirus and that will also have a mix of social and economic costs.

Any comments on what you think and what action you feel is appropriate to Banding?
 
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2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Main Concern - LSC Spring contest next weekend...?
I think that it will be a tough call for the organisers and that the most responsible course of action is not clear (there are good arguments both ways) ... events are unfolding relatively quickly. My personal view is that anything larger than small numbers (attending) recreational gatherings should be cancelled (which would include contests). Many of the workplaces that can are allowing staff to work from home, if employers are taking things seriously then when does it become time for the rest of us to follow?
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Cancelled
Thank you for the information and well done to the organisers for taking such a difficult decision and putting the health and well being of people first.

Brass Bands England ( BBE statement on the COVID-19 pandemic | Brass Bands England ) have suggested a way forward:
“In light of the increased risk of viral transmission as a result of fluids resulting from playing a brass instrument, we recommend the postponement of all large events in which people from multiple areas and of all ages come together. We realise that this is contrary to advice given by the UK Government, but we believe some of the elements of playing brass have some very specific risks of increased transmission, such as emptying water and the total time spent inside venues by audiences over the course of a contest. We realise this will be distressing and will have far-reaching consequences, but we are here to help our members in any way we can and feel it is important to recognise that these measures are ultimately about preserving lives.”

Personally I think that it would be appropriate to cancel other competitions too, whilst it might be possible for them to still go ahead it is (IMHO) almost reckless to do so. I can understand that from the organisers perspective cancellation would be a disaster, but from a player’s perspective I’d be very annoyed about having to travel with people who might be infected and having to share space with folk from all over the region any of whom might be infected. Surely players health should come first ...
 
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Brasstafarian

New Member
Sadly, we have a 90+ year old at home, made worse by being on the ACE blood pressure meds that raise the lethality of this virus, if she gets it, she's unlikely to survive.
Brass buzzing aerosols saliva, the rehearsals are very close-contact, its just too risky. So we're taking a hiatus. Probably lose our seats. Who knows.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Sadly, we have a 90+ year old at home, made worse by being on the ACE blood pressure meds that raise the lethality of this virus, if she gets it, she's unlikely to survive.
Brass buzzing aerosols saliva, the rehearsals are very close-contact, its just too risky. So we're taking a hiatus. Probably lose our seats. Who knows.
Yep, Banding is a discretionary activity and potentially taking the Virus back to vulnerable family members is a foreseeable consequence of mass events and even just meeting for rehearsals is questionable. IMHO Contest organisers should not put Bands and players in this difficult position. Whilst the odds of fatalities are uncertain there will be some deaths (circa 1 in 50 of those who become ill, but worse for the elderly) and unnecessarily gambling with peoples lives is surely just wrong.
 
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Brasstafarian

New Member
If we ALL take this hiatus till after the announced 'peak', nobody suffers. All existing Regional placings null & void.
pay your subs, rent never goes away.
This is a Black Swan event. Lets get this show on the road. Put everything on hold till next year.
Lets make this the year we all stay in, get the Arban book out and get back to basics.. be nice to see so many players return able to do their chromatics ;-)
 

Brasstafarian

New Member
Just 1 week ago, a fellow Band member ridiculed me for mentioning purchasing some extra food provisions.
Past few days, the news suggests most people are building up extra food stores.
Now, everyone is 'Prepping'

Nobody is laughing now.
 

Queeg2000

Active Member
My band and another who I was supposed to dep for both cancelled rehearsals at the weekend, one for two weeks the other indefinitely.

Realistically every band needs to assess their own vulnerability. A band with low risk players may decide to continue but one with high risk players are going to have to take extra precautions whether that be cancelled rehearsals or asking the high risk players not to attend.

Don’t forget though that brass is a natural disinfectant so plenty of practice at home will keep you safe. We should also have stronger respiratory symptoms than most which will reduce our risk.
 

MissBraz

Active Member
My band made the very difficult decision to with draw from our area contest yesterday morning, we had rehearsed all last week, including Saturday night nearby the venue we were meant to play at.
Unfortunately on advice we were given and players in a difficult position work wise or family that were more 'at risk' it seemed like the correct course for us.
Still this morning I am gutted as is the rest of band.
But it was a decision we had to make.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
My band made the very difficult decision to with draw from our area contest yesterday morning, we had rehearsed all last week, including Saturday night nearby the venue we were meant to play at.
Unfortunately on advice we were given and players in a difficult position work wise or family that were more 'at risk' it seemed like the correct course for us.
Still this morning I am gutted as is the rest of band.
But it was a decision we had to make.
I am distressed for you and your Band and wonder what limbo your (well reasoned) action will place you in. As I recall you play in the South West (West of England Region) and their regionals were over this last weekend, you may well end up penalised for not taking part in an event that arguably should have been suspended.

It’s obvious to all that cancelling an event can’t be easily done and does have a lot of repercussions but sometimes the most unpalatable of choices have to be made. Doubtless there will have been some devision within the Band about the decision to withdraw, that can’t have been a pleasant discussion but the ability to collectively make hard decisions well must surely be an encouragement for the future.

I wish you and your Band well and hope that something good manages to come out of things for you. To my mind your action speaks well of you - if I contested, played at your level and lived in your area then yours would be a Band I’d be keen to join.
 

MissBraz

Active Member
Obviously we do not know the outcome at the moment, however one assumes it will be automatic relegation.
As the event went ahead I cant see why we wouldn't be penalised.
 

Brasstafarian

New Member
Hearing lots of bands calling an open-ended hiatus - Sensible. Responsible. A Duty of Care observed.

SOME bands, saying basically, come along, but 'wash your hands' Good grief..

Get a grip band organisers! no hand washing or spit towel will prevent saliva aerosolising from brass playing. It gets in the air. We play shoulder-to-shoulder. Is it that hard to see why our gatherings are especially high-risk ?

Brass is antibiotic. But... it isn't an anti-viral and it WONT stop aerosolising viruses of a carriers' lung infection
 

Jack E

Well-Known Member
Past few days, the news suggests most people are building up extra food stores.
People buying in a bit extra is 'building up food stores'; people who can afford to do so completely clearing the shelves so that others with less money are forced to go without is stupid, selfish and utterly irresponsible. For example, I've read a report of two customers in Tesco's, both of whom had loads of pasta in their shopping trolleys, practically coming to blows over the last packet on the shelf before a member of staff seperated them.
 

Jack E

Well-Known Member
To put this in perspective, since the Corona virus appeared in this country, 35 people have died. Whilst I have every sympathy for the familes and friends of those victims, it's worth mentioning that 26 people died of bog standard flu in Britain, in a single WEEK last January, and many HUNDREDS of people die of the same flu every winter - does that result in thousands acting like hysterical children in supermarkets, and demands for the government to call a COBRA meeting? Not that I can recall. For the Love of Dog, it's a variety of influenza - not bubonic plague!

I'm 73, have had one heart attack confirmed, and at least two more suspected; I've had open heart surgery for a quad heart by-pass op; and I now have a chronic problem with my lungs, due to the after-effects of the operation and the side-effects of the drugs I was put on. Definitely in the 'at risk' group.

I can quite understand why my band has suspended all rehearsals for the time being, as the players range in age from 9 years old to over 70s - and, as I understand, children that young can often carry the virus whilst showing no symptoms at all. But I flatly refuse to shut myself in what would be virtual solitary confinement for 4 months. That might (possibly) prevent me from catching the Corona virus - but (as the letters from my GP confirm, every year) I'm equally in the 'at risk' group for catching seasonal flu - so why didn't my GP or the government tell me to 'self-isolate' last winter, and the one before that?

The reality is that those most likely to die from Covid-19 are equally likely to die from seasonal flu - and the information we have so far all points the same way as the outcome for seasonal flu; that those who suffer severe symptoms form a definite minority, and that those who die are an even smaller minority. I can't think of anything more harmful to my physical health, and - just as much - to my mental and emotional health, than to shut myself away indoors, never go out, and have no contact with other people.

And here's a point which has seemingly been overlooked by government; as reported in the 'Daily Telegraph', today:
"In many areas, Sainsbury's and Waitrose had no online delivery slots available for at least three weeks, while shoppers reported lengthy waits just to log on to Ocado."
If it's already reached that point, just how do the government propose that the over 14 million over-70s are kept supplied with essential groceries and household supplies for the next four months if even half of us take their advice and refuse to go out to do shopping? Even if they draft in the entire strength of the armed forces and the emergency services, the logistics of trying to get the right amounts of the right products to the right people would need an infrastructure and staff neither of which exist.

Frankly, I have far more faith in my auto-immune system, which I keep in good nick by eating the foods which boost its strength and resilience, and by not taking flu injections, and by steering clear of anti-biotics unless a doctor tells me they are absolutely essential (the last time I had them was after my heart op, four years ago). Sure, I get one or two colds each winter, but never anything which I can't sort out with a few days in bed and plenty of rest, Vitamin C, and fluids to drink.
 

Queeg2000

Active Member
Brass isn’t an anti biotic, it’s a disinfectant. A virus is a parasite which can only survive inside a living cell.

Brass will kill the host cell, thus destroying the virus. In reality it takes about 10 minutes of contact between the cell and the brass for this to happen and lacquer will prevent the process. Worse still, silver plate will encourage growth of bacteria so while it’s true that brass is a natural disinfectant, the comment about more practice preventing the virus was tongue in cheek.

However provided instruments are kept clean, the exercise on the lungs would be beneficial if one were to catch the virus. The stronger ones respiratory system is, the better the chance of survival.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Obviously we do not know the outcome at the moment, however one assumes it will be automatic relegation.
As the event went ahead I cant see why we wouldn't be penalised.
Events have moved fast and in a way that turns much conventional thinking on its head. Further contests in other regions are cancelled and so are rehearsals. My own Band follows BBE recommendations and we’re now shut until further notice, not many people saw Boris’s announcement coming but something similar did seem ‘on the cards’ to me. Given all those circumstances I’d have thought that any sane person wouldn’t be able to bring themselves to penalise your Band and, of course, what happens about all the Bands (in other regions) who didn’t compete this year?

To my mind the obvious way forward, if not a happy one for all, is for all Bands to mark time for a year with their sections remaining as is (i.e. as a ‘blanket’ national policy of no promotions and no relegations). Whether your contest took place or not if you were good enough to get promoted then you’re good enough to do the same again next year and if you were bad enough to get demoted then you’ve ‘a year’ to regain past form. Certainly to penalise a (musically) well prepared Band who withdrew from a Contest due to Coronavirus fears would be completely bonkers, and doubly so when the following day the Government announces public policy that stops all further competitions. Let’s see what actually happens.

There was some mention by another poster about perspective and annual deaths and sickness from seasonal flue. It’s true that season flue does kill thousands of people each year in the U.K. and that the death rate varies between years. However, as I understand things, the WHO advise that Coronavirus is more readily transmitted between people and kills more of those infected. Each year the NHS does treat and save the lives of people infected by flue however there is a limit to its capacity to do so and if that limit is exceeded then people will not be treated - so some of those that in normal circumstances would have survived will die due to none availability of treatment. As I see things that’s a triple whammy situation.

I don’t know about others but personally I’ll be limiting face to face social contact, taking exercise by walking and cycling in the fresh air and trying to keep enough food in the house to see me through any two week isolation. Of course I’ll be doing some instrument practice at home too, I think that it’s good exercise for brain, fingers and lungs ... I quite like the music too. Social contact is important to mental health and we all do need to support mental health, but with telephones and internet technologies it’s perfectly possible (for the vast bulk of us) to maintain social contact.

‘Keep calm and carry on’, well I’ll be trying that and see how it works out.
 
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