New study says singing is as safe as talking when it comes to COVID-19

A new study from the University of Bristol has found that singing does not spread COVID-19 particles anymore effectively than talking. The findings could open the way for opera and music theatre to return sooner than expected.

The study looked at the amounts of aerosols and droplets released by professional singers while breathing, speaking, coughing, and singing. It found that “singing does not produce very substantially more aerosol than speaking at a similar volume.”

However, the study did find that droplet release – which could help spread COVID-19 – does significantly increase as volume increases.

“The study has shown the transmission of viruses in small aerosol particles generated when someone sings or speaks are equally possible with both activities generating similar numbers of particles,” said Jonathan Reid, director of ESPRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Aerosol Science at Bristol University.

“Our research has provided a rigorous scientific basis for COVID-19 recommendations for arts venues to operate safely for both the performers and audience by ensuring that spaces are appropriately ventilated to reduce the risk of airborne transmission.”

The university noted that the study has not yet undergone academic peer review.