Should You Stop Going to Dance Classes Because of Coronavirus?
LEXI MAIZE, USDD ACADEMY Director
March 13, 2020
Let’s keep it real: Not all Dance studios are reputed for their extreme cleanliness—despite staffs’ best efforts. And now, with the growing coronavirus outbreak, it’s easy to start feeling extra anxious around sharing the same room as complete strangers, co-workers, friends and even sometimes family.
It’s with good reason, of course: According to the most recent numbers from the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been more than 135,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) worldwide, with more than 800 of those cases in the UK. And, while some local governments are taking measures to help prevent further spread of the virus, like recommending people work from home or asking those in large cities to limit mass transit—there are still lots of unanswered questions about what is (and isn’t) safe during an outbreak.
The coronavirus outbreak has now been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Case in point: Attending your favourite dance class at your favourite location. While getting your blood pumping certainly has its benefits to stave off illness and relieve stress (both extremely relevant right now), there’s still some concern about whether you can safely take a class or if you should try out some at-home online dance classes or tutorials. Here’s what you need to know about breaking a sweat while still protecting yourself from coronavirus.
- What’s your risk of picking up coronavirus at a dance class?
To understand your risk of contracting coronavirus, you need to first understand how the virus spreads: According to the CDC, coronavirus (aka, SARS-CoV-2—COVID-19 is the name of the illness associated with it) is mainly spread directly from person-to-person, usually via close contact (within six feet), through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The virus is also spread indirectly, passing from person to person through contact with surfaces that have been touched by those infected.
Of course, your odds of contracting coronavirus also depend largely on where you live in relation to confirmed cases. In general, just like other public spots, dance studios could easily house coronavirus germs—and that risk obviously rises as more cases of coronavirus are identified in a specific area.
Any place where large numbers of people congregate at any one time over a period of time, allows them to shed their microorganisms or germs in various places. That means anyone infected (including those who don’t even know it), could leave their germs behind, even door handles.
- How is Coronavirus Spread? Here’s What You Should (And Shouldn’t) Worry About
What can you do to decrease your risk of contracting coronavirus?
The best way to avoid coronavirus germs might sound simple, but it’s effective: Wash your hands—and keep washing them. “That’s the key to this whole process according to NHS. Before you go to your dance class, halfway through, when you leave—make sure you scrub with soap and water, especially if you’re going to touch food afterwards or you know you touch your face often. You also want to skip high-fiving your neighbour after a tough set and maybe throw them a thumbs-up instead.
While individuals’ biggest shield from the disease is hand washing, dance studios across the country have also taken extra steps to keep their spaces extra clean. Countless studios including each venue we are using, have sent around emails telling clients of the extra precautions they’re taking to keep their studios clean—mainly, spending more time wiping down equipment and displaying hand wash for customer use. They also remind clients and users to frequently wash hands and stay home when sick.
- Here’s How to Prepare for Coronavirus
Should you keep socialising, having fun, or avoid dance classes altogether?
The answer is ultimately up to you, but skipping a dance class isn’t necessarily the answer. When the words virus, disease, and transmission are thrown around, a normal response is to want to go back to your house and resurface in a few months…
Despite that initial desire, it’s extremely important to take care of your body and mind. This includes good sleep habits, healthy nutrition, and regular exercise.
Keeping up your normal workouts is extremely valuable from a health perspective. Dancing can help regulate the autonomic nervous system and keep it in balance while reducing stress.
If signing up for a class or heading to the gym for a workout puts you in panic mode, consider doing a workout at home or head outside for some sweat. Just remember it’ll do the body (and mind!) some good and know that your best defence from coronavirus is all in your hands—literally. Following the cancellation of major events and the boycott of the Corona beer brand should indicate us that the current biggest problem here is fear.
Most people don’t realise that there is still something they can do.
Washing your hands might seem silly, but the principle is that you wash your hands so that you can use them to eat or prior to touching your face. Every little helps !
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The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data have changed since publication. We also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the NHS, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.