In an encouraging sign amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) battle, California’s Coachella Valley has reduced its hospital admissions and is slowly reopening its economy. Now, many music fans are asking the obvious question: Can a full-blown music festival – none other than the famed Coachella – safely take place this October?
Predictably, the question’s answer – like the answers to most far-reaching coronavirus inquiries – isn’t clear cut. The novel coronavirus debuted on the world stage in the not-so-distant past, and everyone, from medical professionals to citizens, is still learning about its unique properties and characteristics.
What can be stated with certainty, however, is that Coachella Valley has experienced a noteworthy decrease in COVID-19 transmissions – and, in turn, hospitalizations. Approximately 900 Coachella Valley residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to date, and the location’s coronavirus “curve” is apparently flatter than that of Riverside County as a whole.
Similarly, Coachella Valley’s cumulative number of COVID-19 cases (weighed as a percentage) has trended below the Riverside County total during the last two weeks, as have Coachella’s coronavirus deaths. The point is especially significant because Coachella Valley, like other California locations, entered “Phase Two” of its reopening plan about one week ago. Thus, COVID-19 infection rates have remained low despite an increase in commercial activity and person-to-person contact.
On the other side of the coin, the Coachella Music Festival welcomed about 99,000 guests per day last year, and it goes without saying that many of these individuals traveled extensively in order to attend.
Realistically, nationwide COVID-19 infections must continue dropping in the coming months if Coachella 2020 is to take place in October; local cases, though important, are hardly the end all when so many people are planning to travel to (and mix within) the same destination.
Overnight, the United States added about 10,700 new COVID-19 infections to its total, which currently stands at roughly 1.4 million. While both figures are the highest in the world, the U.S. has conducted over 9.35 million coronavirus tests to date – far and away the most of any nation.
Health professionals have acknowledged the invaluable role testing plays in reducing COVID-19’s spread, and a continual increase in stateside testing capacity may make a noticeable difference in the long term.
It also bears mentioning that California Governor Gavin Newsom is considering implementing a live-event ban through the remainder of the year.