Enlarge Mosh pit by Dead Fish, via Wikipedia.

Biology Professor Recommends Masking Up In the Mosh Pit


The real usefulness of masks against COVID has been one of the pandemic’s biggest controversies. Early on, the CDC said masks did nothing, then discovered that they were actually helpful. Meanwhile, countless people with too much time on their hands have portrayed masks as governmental shackles that bind them from, fuck, I dunno, picking their noses in public? For MetalSucks readers, of course, the question has been whether it’s worth it to spend an entire thrash show huffing and screaming into a mask — but now, a new professor who studies this actual phenomenon says that it’s actually the way to go.

In a New York Times article published this weekend titled “Should You Still Wear a Mask?” associate biology professor Erin Bromage, who studies infectious diseases and has helped bands figure out COVID risks while touring throughout the pandemic, weighs in on who at a concert needs to worry most about wearing a mask. And unsurprisingly, it’s everyone doing exactly what metalheads do at shows:

“Where the risk is mainly focused is the pits at the very, very front of the stage where people are on top of each other singing, physically exerting…

“If you’re standing on a lawn watching a show, there’s really no data to support that a mask does anything to protect you that Mother Nature’s not taking care of.”

“On top of each other singing, physically exerting” is basically what I’ve done at every show I’ve attended since I was 14.

Dr. Bromage boils it down to what she calls the “cigarette analogy” — if someone were smoking a cigarette, how quickly would you inhale the smoke, or even smell and taste it? That’s how we should think of the virus.

While this is a bummer — no one likes re-breathing their beer-and-quesadilla breath all night long — it definitely sounds like wearing a mask is the safest way to go at shows. Of course, at metal shows, it’s probably not quite as safe, given how quickly things can get slapped off your face in a mosh pit (as a dude with glasses, I can relate), but it sounds like it’s worth the effort.

Thanks to Mr. Vince Neilstein for the heads up!

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