Eric Clapton (photo: Majvdl)
Yeah, we might have spoken too soon. No sooner than we were celebrating the return of live music in this very column, four weeks ago, we are now lamenting the emergence of the Delta variant and what that might mean. This strain is way more contagious than the “traditional” COVID-19, we are told. And worse, the most vulnerable, such as the children who can’t yet get vaccinated, through no fault of their own, seem to be more susceptible to this Delta strain. FUCK!
So what do we do? “In a completely unmitigated environment—where no one is vaccinated or wearing masks—it’s estimated that the average person infected with the original coronavirus strain will infect 2.5 other people,” said Dr. F. Perry Wilson to yalemedicine.org. “In the same environment, Delta would spread from one person to maybe 3.5 or 4 other people.”
“As older age groups get vaccinated, those who are younger and unvaccinated will be at higher risk of getting COVID-19 with any variant,” added Dr. Inci Yildirim. “But Delta seems to be impacting younger age groups more than previous variants.”
That’s frankly terrifying. And people just don’t seem to be mentally catching up fast enough. How many times online have you read comments such as, “Why should I wear a mask if I’m vaccinated?” Or “why should I wear a mask or get vaccinated if YOU’RE vaccinated?” The selfishness is astonishing. So many people have a hard time understanding that the virus can be carried and passed on, and the vaccination is simply stopping the harshest of the symptoms in most people. But until more people are vaccinated, more variants and mutations will emerge, and more people will die. Including kids.
Personally, I’m putting a hold on attending indoor concerts again. The risk just isn’t worth it. It doesn’t help when well known fuckwits like Eric Clapton say that they’ll refuse to perform at venues that require proof of vaccination. Because ALL venues should require proof of vaccination. Lollapalooza asked for proof of vaccination OR a negative test. With the number of people attending that festival, it should have been both. Their website reads:
“We ask that you not attend if any of the following is true for you or anyone in your party:
Within 14 days before attending the festival you have tested positive, or been exposed to someone who has tested positive for, COVID-19;
Within 48 hours prior to attending the festival, you have experienced symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., a fever of 100.4F or higher, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking muscle pain/achiness, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue or any other symptoms associated with COVID-19 identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention);
Within 14 days prior to attending the festival, you have travelled to any international territory identified by federal or applicable state or local governments as being subject to travel or quarantine advisories due to COVID-19.”
That’s better than nothing. But it’s basically the honor system, and can you really trust excited music fans who have been waiting for over a year to return to Lollapalooza to choose to stay at home because of their mild fever? To say that’s risky is a massive understatement. Again, they should have required proof of vaccination AND a negative test.
But back to Clapton:
“I wish to say that I will not perform on any stage where there is a discriminated audience present,” Clapton said in a statement shared on the Telegram account of Italian architect Robin Monotti. “Unless there is provision made for all people to attend, I reserve the right to cancel the show.”
What a fucking douche! People are still harping on about their “freedoms” when what they’re actually asking for is the freedom to die while killing others. It’s utterly infuriating.
Rapper Lizzo is taking things a little more seriously, posting to her Instagram that she wants fans to stay six feet away from her if they see her.
“I don’t care who you are. You could be the nicest person. You could be vaccinated,” she posted. “You could be quadruple vaccinated. If you see me, please give me 6 feet. This s— is coming back. COVID. And people being real sloppy with personal space.”
Lizzo (photo: Andy Witchger)
She then threatened to spray anyone who came to close, with a little bottle. I support her!
Lollapalooza is at least outdoors, it’s just that the sheer number of people mixing, going into tents etc. increases the chance of passing Delta on. Regular outdoor shows, for me, are still an option. It’s easy to keep a reasonable distance from people, stay masked, use hand sanitizer and breathe open air.
The night before writing this, I saw L.A. punks X with Los Lobos and The Blasters at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, Orange County. A large enough portion of the crowd were wearing masks, and people were respectful of space. That seems to be the pattern at all outdoor shows I’ve been to, so I’m sticking with that until the experts say otherwise.
That’s the key — listen to the science — because, believe me, everyone is fucking sick and tired of this shit. Nobody is enjoying the restrictions. It’s devastating and heartbreaking. There are massive question marks over whether kids can go back to school in the fall because of Delta. The sooner we get all eligible people vaccinated, the sooner normality can resume. Because until people start getting a clue, this shit is going to roll on and on. If you can, get vaccinated and do it now!