German scientist: Singing causes spread of Covid-19

German scientist: Singing causes spread of Covid-19


norman lebrecht

April 30, 2020

From a Guardian report from Berlin:

…Lothar Wieler, the head of the German government’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, specifically warned on Tuesday that singing was ill-advised. “Evidence shows that during singing, the virus drops appear to fly particularly far,” he said.

Virologists also believe singers could absorb many more particles as they tend to breathe deeper into their diaphragms than they would during normal breathing.

A draft bans both communal singing and wind instruments from services over the “amplified precipitation of potentially infectious drops” …

Read on here.



  • Amos says:

    Yes not unlike spitting.

  • singewithmasks! says:

    Why can’t people sing in masks? This is utter rubbish. You know what also spreads this disease? Fear perpetuated by the media.

    • Bruce says:

      LOL. Have you tried it? It would be possible… but difficult. Any time you take a deep breath, you suck the mask material into your mouth. Any time you open your jaw wide, gaps open in the side or underneath of the mask (may depend on the shape & size of your mask & face).

    • Guest says:

      Please explain how ‘fear perpetuated by the media spreads this disease’.
      Sensible people ignore the MSM and follow government advice.

    • Karl says:

      I think a better option would be to have singers in separate rooms with microphones. Hearing them through speakers at a live concert isn’t ideal but it’s better than nothing.

    • Barry Guerrero says:

      So if YOU end up in a hospital with Covid, be sure to remember that it was caused by fear perpetuated by the media, and not by water droplets in the air.

  • Ian Pace says:

    This report by scientists, a risk assessment produced by the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, is important:

    • Readthereportbeforeposting says:

      Did you even read this “report”? Here’s a quote from it in case you did not read past the first few paragraphs:

      “The following explanations are therefore based on applying general scientific findings to the specific situation of musicians. They therefore represent the authors’ personal assessments, which so far have not been confirmed by their own scientific investigations. This paper is therefore a snapshot of the current situation, which will be reviewed and adapted in the further course of time according to the latest status of existing guidelines and new scientific findings.”

      • HugoPreuss says:

        Did you even understand what you were posting? This is nothing more and nothing less than a standard academic disclaimer, pointing out that the paper is not based on an elaborate study but rather preliminary. That doesn’t make it worthless, and that doesn’t change the report into a “report”.

  • Gustavo says:

    So, that’s it folks.

    No more national anthems before games!

    But playing football in a team without audience is no problem – you just need to hold your breath for 90 minutes.

    And please, do not run around the stadium too fast with your mouth open.

  • sam says:

    Humming chorus from Madama Butterfly then.

  • John Rook says:

    Singing spreads disease, eh? Nothing compared to the incompetence spread by politicians and their minions.

    • Karl says:

      The world will have to make China pay for this. Their actions go well beyond mere incompetence.

      • HugoPreuss says:

        This was either delightful irony or woefully misinformed Trump-speak…

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Perhaps we should also make the US pay for the damage they caused by the Spanish flu in 1918. After all, it originated in the US.

  • Keith Burns says:

    There was a choir practice in Washington State after which many of the participants contracted the virus. It’s just a single incident, but a very sad one. One of many reports about it is at:

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Er…that doesn’t mean the act of singing is what caused the participants to contract the virus. The mere act of standing next to each other for several hours would have been enough to cause this incident.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    As a wind player, I greatly worry about this. Indeed, we blow out a lot of air and take in a lot of air. Indeed, I’m full of hot air, but Covid is real.

  • Ned Keane says:

    Mr Borstlap will be on in a minute saying that singing the glories of the romantic repertoire would never spread a virus. Just that nasty modern music that nobody likes

    • John Borstlap says:

      A research team of the Texas Institute of Technology had already discovered in the nineties that some works by Schoenberg and Webern spread a specific short-living germ that induces acute headache, lethargy, and an inclination to divorce with married listeners. A later mutation found in the works of Xenakis, especially in the third quarter of Metastasis, has been found to be quite dangerous for young people who may become vulnerable to suicidal attacks; in the age group of 60 – 80 it appears to cause brain collapse in some listeners.

      Interestingly, the research project did not find any germ in any tonal work. According to the report, as published in the TIT monthly journal, triads and scales as well as cadences, however indirectly realised, function as antibodies that kill dangerous aural oxidants.

  • Bruno Michel says:

    That’s all we needed! But it is hardly surprising. It does make sense to anyone who knows that singing is akin to a sport, from a physical point of view. And in some countries, for instance, jogging has been banned, and rightly so, as research shows that during jogging, one exhales to 8 meters. Will singers have to sing with masks when things reopen? That would please some regietheater directors no end…

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Opera on stage sung by the soloists is unlikely to be too much of a problem. The main problem will be the choirs who tend to be packed into quite a small space.

  • John Borstlap says:

    What Regietheater has desperately but vainly tried for half a century: shocking and frightening the audience, the corona virus has achieved without any special effort of its own.