White House Deletes Warning About COVID-19 Risk from Singing in Church Despite Evidence

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Last Friday, the administration released pandemic guidance for faith communities after weeks of debate flared between the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those guidelines posted on the CDC website included recommendations that religious communities “consider suspending or at least decreasing use of choir/musical ensembles and congregant singing, chanting, or reciting during services or other programming, if appropriate within the faith tradition.”

It added: “The act of singing may contribute to transmission of Covid-19, possibly through emission of aerosols.”

By Saturday, that version was replaced by updated guidance that no longer includes any reference to choirs or congregant singing and the risk for spreading virus. The altered guidance also deleted a reference to “shared cups” among items, including hymnals and worship rugs, that should not be shared. The updated guidelines also added language that said the guidance “is not intended to infringe on rights protected by the First Amendment.”

White House officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said they didn’t want to anger the evangelicals.

Earlier this year in March, 53 of the 61 members of a choir in Washington State were infected with COVID-19 from a choir practice. Three were hospitalized and two died.

At an Arkansas church in March, 35 of 92 attendees at a church were infected with the virus, 3 died. In addition 26 infections and one death in the community likely came from church members.

Washington Post

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