About 45 members of the choir at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church in the United States have “contracted coronavirus (COVID-19) through the air”.
According to Los Angeles Times, three of the members are already hospitalised, while two others are dead.
Adam Burdick, the choirmaster, had informed the 121 singers through an email on March 6 that the rehearsal would hold despite concerns about the virus already spreading across the country.
“I’m planning on being there this Tuesday, March 10, and hoping many of you will be, too,” Burdick wrote in the email.
However, only 60 of the choristers were present at the choir practice that lasted for about three hours, while an official gave hand sanitiser to them at the entrance.
The singers were also said to have avoided hugging or shaking one another.
About three weeks after, 45 of them were diagnosed with coronavirus. Eight of the patients said none of them coughed, sneezed or looked ill during the choir practice, while they all maintained some distance.
“It seemed like a normal rehearsal, except that choirs are huggy places,” the choir master said.
“We were making music and trying to keep a certain distance between each other.”
The outbreak at the church rehearsal has raised question among experts in the US that COVID-19 could be transferred from person to person through air.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has, however, stated that the notion making the rounds that coronavirus is airborne is in incorrect.
It said the virus that causes COVID-19 was mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.