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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Affects the Ballet World


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1 hour ago, nanushka said:

The physical properties of particles haven’t changed much in those 100 years, apparently. Masks seem to still work pretty well.

In reading various old articles from 1918, I've been impressed with the medical community's assumptions regarding the virus (even though they didn't know that viruses existed).

Edited by pherank
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Not entirely unexpected reports of Coronavirus among the artists at newly reopened Mariinsky and Bolshoi theaters (I think only the former has had public performances); these websites are both ostensibly news sources, but I don't actually know how to evaluate these stories (esp the 2nd one which comes from a website with which I'm completely unfamiliar); I did notice on Instagram today three Mariinsky dancers I follow posting photos of themselves with masks --something I had not seen before from them:

https://www.corona24.news/c/2020/08/08/rbc-reports-on-the-bolshoi-and-mariinsky-theaters-infected-with-coronavirus.html

https://www.archyde.com/in-the-bolshoi-and-mariinsky-theaters-artists-were-quarantined-society-rbc/

Edited by Drew
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On 8/8/2020 at 4:32 PM, Drew said:

Not entirely unexpected reports of Coronavirus among the artists at newly reopened Mariinsky and Bolshoi theaters (I think only the former has had public performances); these websites are both ostensibly news sources, but I don't actually know how to evaluate these stories (esp the 2nd one which comes from a website with which I'm completely unfamiliar); I did notice on Instagram today three Mariinsky dancers I follow posting photos of themselves with masks --something I had not seen before from them:

https://www.corona24.news/c/2020/08/08/rbc-reports-on-the-bolshoi-and-mariinsky-theaters-infected-with-coronavirus.html

https://www.archyde.com/in-the-bolshoi-and-mariinsky-theaters-artists-were-quarantined-society-rbc/

Thanks for this information, Drew. If something like this had to happen, now was possibly the best time with the theatre closing for a month’s vacation anyway and the Bolshoi not planning to reopen until September. There will be less pressure for folks to return until this is better understood. 

There’s a very active discussion of this at the Balletfriends Forum in russian. From the very little that I’ve read, it will take a few days for the test results to show what the exact situation is. Let’s hope for the very best.


 

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On 8/8/2020 at 5:32 PM, Drew said:

these websites are both ostensibly news sources, but I don't actually know how to evaluate these stories (esp the 2nd one which comes from a website with which I'm completely unfamiliar

The first story links to a report from the RBC agency, which is considered entirely legitimate in Russia. The second is a translation of the first part of that RBC story, although it doesn't go as far as the quote from an anonymous Mariinsky dancer describing the situation. 

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5 hours ago, volcanohunter said:

The first story links to a report from the RBC agency, which is considered entirely legitimate in Russia. The second is a translation of the first part of that RBC story, although it doesn't go as far as the quote from an anonymous Mariinsky dancer describing the situation. 

Thank you. Goodness knows under the circumstances it’s easy enough to believe several of the artists have fallen ill. Wishing everyone a swift recovery .....and prudent leadership.

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Here’s an article with apparently encouraging news about the Bolshoi. The Mariinsky news is less clear, but may be more serious with possibly twenty dancers infected. (Thank to Sophia at Dansomanie for finding this)

I’ve only read the article quickly with a Google translation. If you want to give it a try you can use this.

https://translate.google.com

https://www.mk.ru/culture/2020/08/12/v-bolshom-teatre-izolirovali-zdorovykh-baletnykh-artistov.html

Here is the title with a few quotes.

“Healthy ballet dancers isolated at the Bolshoi Theater”

53 dancers and accompanists, despite a negative test, were quarantined for 2 weeks

Today the test results came - no one in the troupe is sick, apparently, soon everyone will be allowed in, because some part of the troupe is now in quarantine due to the fact that one girl from the corps de ballet is ill.

 

However, the production processes in the theaters have not been interrupted, the theaters themselves have not been closed, so the rumors in the media about the quarantine of theaters turned out to be a great exaggeration.

 

[Mariinsky]

….about 20 people, as MK managed to find out from a source inside the theater, were identified last week at the Mariinsky Theater (today they passed another test there, and rehearsals temporarily suspended).

And in the Mariinsky, they say, not one person is infected like ours, but about 20.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Buddy
minor spelling correction
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Wearing masks indoors because of virus particles 'lingering' in the air receives support from this recent New York Times article.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/08/11/health/coronavirus-aerosols-indoors.html?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20200812&instance_id=21197&nl=the-morning&regi_id=44177886&segment_id=35842&te=1&user_id=771dec6c17fa570d3622c6dc4c746eed

Surface cleaning may be less important. Hopefully the availability of tested vaccines early next year will end all this.

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1 hour ago, Buddy said:

Hopefully the availability of tested vaccines early next year will end all this.

If terahertz spectroscopy pans out, companies should at least be able to resume rehearsals since it will be physically possible and apparently economically feasible to test every dancer before every rehearsal.

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55 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

If terahertz spectroscopy pans out, companies should at least be able to resume rehearsals since it will be physically possible and apparently economically feasible to test every dancer before every rehearsal.

Thanks, YouOverThere. I had to look this one up. Here's an August 1 report.


Four technologies to detect coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in 30 seconds developed by scientists from Israel are being evaluated at Delhi’s Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.

If successful, these technologies can pave the way for the safe opening of businesses and people will be able to coexist with the virus till a vaccine is developed, researchers said.

The first technology attempts to detect the virus by a technique called terahertz spectroscopy. In this, a sample is taken, deposited on a chip and then examined in a manner that specifically detects SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19. This does not involve any chemistry or reagents as it does in the current standard tests. The results will come in less than a minute,” said professor K Vijay Raghavan, principal scientific advisor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

[This is important] All these approaches are working well in the laboratory setting, but the challenge is to see how they will work in a field setting,” he said.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/delhi-news/four-israeli-technologies-to-detect-covid-19-in-30-seconds-to-be-tested-in-delhi/story-2RCpya8Pix6PViPAd1YfUL.html

Edited by Buddy
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1 hour ago, Buddy said:

Four technologies to detect coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in 30 seconds developed by scientists from Israel are being evaluated at Delhi’s Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.

[This is important] All these approaches are working well in the laboratory setting, but the challenge is to see how they will work in a field setting,” he said.

Unfortunately, it would be impractical to test an entire audience.

Hydroxychloroquine worked well in a laboratory setting, but not so great in the field. Of course, the laboratory setting consisted of treating cells taken from green monkeys rather than from humans.

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15 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

Unfortunately, it would be impractical to test an entire audience.

Hydroxychloroquine worked well in a laboratory setting, but not so great in the field. Of course, the laboratory setting consisted of treating cells taken from green monkeys rather than from humans.

Face masks for the audience, I guess.

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22 minutes ago, YouOverThere said:

Hydroxychloroquine worked well in a laboratory setting, but not so great in the field. Of course, the laboratory setting consisted of treating cells taken from green monkeys rather than from humans.

The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine never proved itself to be effective against the Covid-19 virus. Which isn't really surprising given the vast difference between malaria protozoan parasites and viruses of any kind. Not the same kind of entity, so why should the treatment be the same? But anyway, it seems the reason hydroxychloroquine suddenly got a lot of press was the appearance of one particular viral video (that the U.S. President touted):

"The clip features a Houston-area doctor named Stella Immanuel wearing a white coat in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building as she proclaims that a cocktail of hydroxychloroquine, zinc and the antibiotic azithromycin has cured COVID-19 patients"

More on Dr. Immanuel:
"...Immanuel is a licensed doctor in Texas and lists her practice as the Rehoboth Medical Center. That medical center is listed as being registered with the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts in September 2019 by Solange Gabice. We reached Gabice by phone, but she hung up when we asked if her clinic was treating COVID-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine.

It’s worth noting also that the same strip mall in Katy, Texas, that houses the clinic also houses Fire Power Ministries, a Christian ministry run by Immanuel."

https://www.factcheck.org/2020/07/in-viral-video-doctor-falsely-touts-hydroxychloroquine-as-covid-19-cure/

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17 hours ago, pherank said:

The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine never proved itself to be effective against the Covid-19 virus. Which isn't really surprising given the vast difference between malaria protozoan parasites and viruses of any kind. Not the same kind of entity, so why should the treatment be the same?

Perhaps the hope was that hydroxychloroquine would mediate the immune system's potentially deadly inflammatory response to the virus—the now infamous "cytokine storm"—rather than target the virus itself. I think that's why the drug is given to patients with certain autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Edited by Kathleen O'Connell
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Thanks, Kathleen, for your added insight.

Things, very unfortunately, don’t seem to be going well at the Mariinsky, according to “Rosbalt”, a publication(?) that I don’t know about. It was posted at Balletfriends in russian. Let’s once again hope for the best.

Here’s Google translation, which I used, for anyone who wants to read the article.

https://translate.google.com

Some quotes:

More and more people infected with coronavirus are being recorded in the ballet troupe of the Mariinsky Theater, more than twenty artists and teachers have already been infected. This was reported to "Rosbalt" by a source from the artistic production of the theater.

We will remind, earlier "Rosbalt" wrote that in the Mariinsky there was a difficult epidemiological situation. The director of the ballet troupe of the Mariinsky Theater, Yuri Fateev, confirmed the information about the infected artists.

https://m.rosbalt.ru/piter/2020/08/13/1858446.html

(Thanks to Mickmorr at Balletfriends)

 

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4 hours ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

Perhaps the hope was that hydroxychloroquine would mediate the immune system's potentially deadly inflammatory response to the virus—the now infamous "cytokine storm"—rather than target the virus itself. I think that's why the drug is given to patients with certain autoimmune disorders such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Yes, that's more likely. And so those particular researchers were not expecting hydroxychloroquine to be an anti-viral "cure" as Dr. Immanuel and others termed it. The inclusion of "zinc and the antibiotic azithromycin" in Immanuel's mix were interesting choices. I remember early on people asking if zinc (an effective common cold treatment) was of any use against Covid-19, and the reply seemed to be it wasn't shown to be making a difference. But I don't know if there's been any clinical study done for zinc. The use of azithromycin could speak to suppression of "potentially deadly inflammatory response":


But one of the interesting things about azithromycin is that it has really strong immunomodulatory effects, so it has these kind of nondirect effects on the immune system. That means it’s an interesting candidate in terms of what it does to the immune system.

So, in vitro, there have been reports showing that azithromycin has activity against RNA viruses like Zika and rhinovirus and things like that.

Edited by pherank
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Andrew Lloyd Webber has volunteered to test the vaccine being developed at Oxford University.  Picture of him being injected on Facebook yesterday.  As the owner of seven London theatres be must be feeling desperate,  There is also a vaccine being developed at Imperial College in London.  The hope is that one or the other will be ready next spring.

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This is a recent Washington Post article that gives what seems to be a fairly good summary of the worldwide vaccine effort, partially titled — “a scientific quest moving at record-breaking speed.”

Here are a few quotes that admittedly have an optimistic note.

“As companies launch small Phase 1 trials intended to establish the correct dose, they already are planning the Phase 3 trials that evaluate whether the vaccines are effective and safe.

“Researchers in the United States set an audacious goal in January to develop a coronavirus vaccine within 12 to 18 months. This would be a world record.

“Coronavirus vaccines are moving much faster, partly because governments are taking on the financial risk of developing a vaccine that may not work. Through Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. government has invested about $9.5 billion to speed up development and jump-start manufacturing before research is finished.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/health/covid-vaccine-update-coronavirus/

(Thanks to my daughter, who's been tracking all this very carefully, for the article)

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I've been lax about watching my Facebook feed, and this went over my head:  PNB dancers are returning to the studios with precautions:

https://blogpnborg.wordpress.com/2020/08/12/sarah-gabrielle-ryan-kyle-davis-on-being-back-in-the-studios/

Edited to add:  Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan, who was interviewed with Kyle Davis for this blog post, brought up a common theme:  the difficulty of trying to comprehend direction when being taught choreography over Zoom.

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Somewhat encouraging news from the Mariinsky. The reported number of infections has risen from 20 to 30, according to Interfax Russia,  but most all are considered "Mild".

"The Mariinsky Theater has registered about 30 cases, mostly ballet dancers, three of them are hospitalized, the rest are being treated at home, the disease is mostly mild. To prevent the spread of the disease, the ballet troupe is in isolation at their places of residence, which is about 300 people. ", - said Chkhindzheria."

https://www.interfax-russia.ru/northwest/main/okolo-30-artistov-baletnoy-truppy-mariinki-zaboleli-koronavirusom-rospotrebnadzor

Google Translate

https://translate.google.com

(Thanks again to Mickmorr at Balletfriends)

 

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These would be a few ideas that might make indoor ballet performances safer at this time.

If at all possible the dancers should be isolated together at all times off stage. This seems more feasible with the Mariinsky, for instance, where many dancers, I believe, are provided housing together.

All dancers and theater personnel should be tested each time before entering the theater. There are quick, inexpensive, and reliable ways to do this, I believe.

Face mask use as much as possible by the dancers and theater personnel.

Seating should be at least checkerboard arrangement in spacing.

All audience members should be given quality face masks as part of the ticket price and required to wear them.

A followup on audience health after a performance could be done by obtaining each person’s phone number at time of ticket purchase and phoning a sufficient sampling of them periodically. This should be done by a reliable health agency, not by the theater.

 

Edited by Buddy
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Peter Boal said in his recent Conversations on Dance interview  that PNB dancers can decide whether to come into the studio working in small pods or continue from home via Zoom, that the pods don't interact, but a choreographer can move from pod to pod (studio to studio), and that people who live together are considered for partnering assignments.  (At least through 2020, this has been taken into consideration for the programming.)

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Helene said:

Peter Boal said in his recent Conversations on Dance interview  that PNB dancers can decide whether to come into the studio working in small pods or continue from home via Zoom, that the pods don't interact, but a choreographer can move from pod to pod (studio to studio), and that people who live together are considered for partnering assignments.  (At least through 2020, this has been taken into consideration for the programming.)

 

 

That seems more realistic and workable than this:

1 hour ago, Buddy said:

If at all possible the dancers should be isolated together at all times off stage.

These aren't highly paid professional athletes, after all, who would be sufficiently compensated to make it worth suspending the rest of their lives for the duration of a season.

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