Wednesday 10/13/2021 by phishnet

PHISH IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

Dan Mielcarz (ColForbin here at Phish.net) has a doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. He is currently the Director of DartLab, the immune monitoring and flow cytometry shared resource at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, NH. We asked him to write a short piece on staying safe at indoor shows.

With fall tour and indoor shows upon us, some of you may be wondering what the best practices from a COVID-19 safety standpoint might be. As an immunologist, I was happy to see Phish change from a free-for-all at the beginning of summer tour to requiring vaccination or a negative test. This makes for a much safer environment for the band and fans alike. Vaccination is the number one way to stay healthy in the pandemic. If you aren’t vaccinated you are taking a huge unnecessary risk, so please, get the shots. And if you are eligible, get a booster. The sooner you get your shots the better, as peak protection takes at least 1 week past the second (or booster) dose.

Also, please do not come to a show if you are feeling sick. At the very least, take a rapid antigen test (I like the BinaxNow brand) if you have any symptoms and only attend if you are negative. I know how excruciatingly hard it is to miss a Phish show you have been looking forward to for years, but skipping a show when you feel sick is one of the most selfless acts a person can make in 2021, and will be repaid down the road, I assure you.

Beyond vaccination and staying home if you feel sick, what is the number one thing you can do to stay safe at a Phish concert this fall? Wearing a mask. In the words of the band themselves: “We strongly recommend that you wear a mask at Phish shows when social distancing isn’t possible.” When is social distancing not possible at an indoor Phish show? Everywhere. So you need to wear a mask everywhere. Universal masking will protect you, other fans, and the band. I know Trey continued his tour when some members of his band got infected, but there is no way that will happen with Phish.

Here’s a short FAQ about masking at indoor shows:

“What type of mask should I wear?”

Studies show that the order of effectiveness of masks are N95>KN95>Surgical>Cloth. In fact, in a huge randomized controlled trial in Bangladesh, cloth masks showed no reduction in COVID-19 transmission. My recommendation is to wear at least a surgical mask, and for maximum protection a well-fitting KN95. If you have a funky cloth mask that you want to show off, put it over a surgical mask. The consumer product review site The Wirecutter has a great guide on where you can find high quality masks.

“When should I wear my mask?”

The entire time you are at the show. And in hotel rooms of people that you don’t live with. And in public bathrooms. And in casinos. And in taxis, shuttle buses, subways, planes, and rickshaws. But not outside in the open air.

“What if I want to eat or drink or smoke at the show?”

My advice is to not eat or drink or smoke at the show. But of course it will happen. If you must, pull down your mask briefly, take a sip or bite, then put it back up. Ideally, you should find a less crowded area of the venue in which to do this. Also, maybe eat an edible before the show instead of repeatedly and deeply inhaling and exhaling in a crowded venue during a pandemic.

“Masks are hot and annoying, I don’t want to do this.”

That’s not really a question. But yes, it kind of sucks wearing a mask at a show. If the entire country wasn’t experiencing high community transmission I might have different advice. But getting COVID-19 – even a breakthrough infection – is far more than just annoying, and could have dire consequences for you and your loved ones.

"But Trey just sang 'Take off your mask'"

That's a metaphor for the self-concious version of ourselves that we present to the world, and the attendant anxieties that come with keeeping it in place. By all means, let your metaphorical mask drop when Trey sings Sigma Oasis. Just keep your literal mask on your face.

“I’m vaccinated, and wearing a mask. May I have a great show?”

You should have an amazing show! May all your jams be 20 minutes, except for the 30 minute ones.

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Comments

, comment by chillwig
chillwig This recap reads like you weren’t even at the show.
, comment by Franklin
Franklin Thank you! I did not know that the cloth masks are so substantially less effective. This post will help me stay safer : )
, comment by phishmom
phishmom Great advice! Thank you.
, comment by multibeast
multibeast I think the KF94 Korean masks are a better alternative to the basic surgical mask. 4 layers of protection (surgical is 3, KN95 is 5) but still breathable, and a nice seal around the face. Those will be my go to masks for the shows.
, comment by TreysGuitar
TreysGuitar Cool, but who asked?
, comment by RobPJohnson3
RobPJohnson3 @TreysGuitar, maybe the band asked? Seeing how few people wore masks at outdoor shows, they might have felt a little refresher course was needed before they started indoor shows.

Whatever your personal feelings on the subject, Phish has made their stance perfectly clear. This article wouldn't be on the front page of this website if the band wasn't on board with his advice.
, comment by yourTHESIS_isa_load_oSHIT
yourTHESIS_isa_load_oSHIT "dont eat or drink or smoke at the Phish show" - the Phauci.
, comment by macbergleton
macbergleton From an exhausted MD, great article--thank you. I've used the Korean KF94 masks pretty exclusively--their design keeps the mask away from your lips, which makes the whole experience much more comfortable. Scarcely noticed my mask at Shoreline this summer.
, comment by SporkFan
SporkFan @RobPJohnson3 said:
@TreysGuitar, maybe the band asked? Seeing how few people wore masks at outdoor shows, they might have felt a little refresher course was needed before they started indoor shows.

Whatever your personal feelings on the subject, Phish has made their stance perfectly clear. This article wouldn't be on the front page of this website if the band wasn't on board with his advice.
Not that I'm arguing with anything the post is saying, but the band actually has nothing to do with this site. That would be phish.com - this is a fan-controlled site.
, comment by bkrieg73
bkrieg73 It says at the top that phish.net did:

"We asked him to write a short piece on staying safe at indoor shows."

@TreysGuitar said:
Cool, but who asked?
, comment by 1979Bus
1979Bus Thank you!
, comment by Smith91
Smith91 Another Covid post?
, comment by WeWantYouToBeHappy
WeWantYouToBeHappy I'm glad you wrote this and it needed to be said. Sadly, COVID-sick individuals went to the Dick's shows and people got infected there. You would think and hope that the community would put safety first, but as many of these folks have gotten older, their selfishness overrules that idea. Let's have a safe and responsible Fall tour.
, comment by UncleGus
UncleGus These recommendations make it seem like attending a show is an extremely high risk event. It's excellent advice; wear a tight fitting N95 mask the entire time and pretty much every where you go and don't eat or drink or smoke. However, there's as much a chance of that happening as there is successfully commanding fifteen thousand dogs to sit/stay for three hours. That being said, the risk (assuming it's as high as inferred) is imminent. The only assured practices from a Covid 19 safety standpoint would be to stay home if you're worried. I'll be at the shows breaking bread with my new friends.
, comment by dirtydave420
dirtydave420 Phish should not be on tour, period.
, comment by mgouker
mgouker Thank you for helping to combat ignorance. Hopefully, your post will help people. It may even save lives. Bravo!
, comment by hhtuck
hhtuck If the masks and vaccines are effective at mitigating harm (which they are) then folks should be able to do whatever they want since the people they’re around can get vaxxed and wear a mask (or not go).

Love,

An MD exhausted at all the exhausted MDs
, comment by WasteMyTimeWithYou
WasteMyTimeWithYou @dirtydave420 said:
Phish should not be on tour, period.
Yet you supported Phish being on tour by going to all three nights of Dicks this year?? Don't be part of a problem that you yourself are complaining about, period.
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