New York, NY (March 18, 2020)—The novel coronavirus has turned the live sound industry upside down, and while the effects of government guidelines and restrictions feel severe here in the U.S., it’s a different experience for live sound pros overseas in more heavily affected countries. Andrea Taglia, longtime FOH engineer for Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli, shared his thoughts on the pandemic with Pro Sound News from his home in Firenze, Italy.
Italy declared a national lockdown on March 10 as it faced 31,000 known infections and more than 2,500 deaths at the time; those numbers have since only risen, with 3,500 new cases reported each day. Taglia said that he was healthy—“All good for me here”—but having seen his country get ravaged by the virus over the last few weeks, added, “Be careful and reduce social contacts as much as you can.”
While measures taken in the U.S. to prevent the pandemic’s spread have deeply affected the live sound industry here, Italy has enacted far more drastic measures: “China first and then Italy took very rigid measures to control the spread of the virus, but it does not seem that many other countries are taking it seriously,” he noted.
North America may have been slow to respond to the rising threat of the novel coronavirus, but it’s not alone in that regard. “I do feel that not only the U.S. but also several other countries did not start on time to take the necessary precautions,” said Taglia. “The point is that the later they start, the higher the price, both in human lives and in cost for the entire community, not to mention that the later you stop activities, the later you will re-start them.”
While the novel coronavirus most greatly affects people 60 and over, no one at any age should be careless about their exposure to the illness—or the possibility that they might carry it and expose others. “This is a virus that mostly kills elderly people, but there is a percentage of young people that gets sick and can be killed depending on their physical response,” said a concerned Taglia. “It is not a standard flu as many are still thinking; this is something serious that will compromise the world for at least the entire summer—be careful!”