Even though I haven’t gone out to any dance events in what feels like forever ever since the world shut down, I still hear about what is going on with people in the dance community directly and indirectly from various sources. There have been a couple of concerning updates that I have heard this past week from my contacts within the local Royal Dance Court that have really emphasized the point that, even though a lot of studios in the area are starting to open back up and offer dance opportunities again (some in disregard to the continuing lockdown orders in place), it’s still not necessarily safe for people to be going out to dance in large groups.
One dance group that I am a member of that you might also be a member of has various local chapters throughout the country. The district manager of my area, who is the lead person for all the local chapters within this district, was apparently holding regular social dances in defiance of the orders to not have events like that. I guess this person thought they were being safe-ish by flying under the radar, and only allowing up to ten couples to register for the event, and then not allow partner switching during the party. Safe-ish, as I’m sure you know, is not completely safe, but there was a demand for this type of event so this district leader was filling that demand as best they could.
That is, until they contracted the virus…
Lucky for them, they managed to survive, but apparently it laid them out in the hospital for a long time, and now they are going home and still not feeling ready to get back up and about quite yet. Because we are terrible about doing contact tracing in this country, there is no way to know if this person got the virus from all the dance parties they were hosting, or if they transmitted the virus to anyone at those parties during the time between when they were infected and when they had to go to the hospital. I hope someone let all the people that had contact with this person know once they were hospitalized so that they could go get tested themselves.
I’ve met this person, talked with them. In my world, this isn’t a story about a stranger. This is a person whose face I can put with the name. That’s weird to think about, right? This was actually the first confirmed case I know of someone whom I’ve met who has contracted this virus. A dance person was the first in my world.
OK, so that’s one kind of scary story about social dancing during a pandemic that’s pretty close to home for me. Want to hear another one?
There was a lady that used to live in this area who was a regular at dance events. In fact, I used to see her all the time at parties at the Electric Dance Hall, and we’ve danced together quite a bit at those parties. She moved away earlier this year to another state off to the west. This was early on when this whole situation started. I haven’t talked to her since the last dance party we were both at (which I think was New Year’s Eve), but I still occasionally saw things from her on social media on the rare occasions when I would log in there.
She works in a quasi-medical-related field, so when the numbers of people sick in this country started to get out of control, she would post things all the time trying to get people to take care of each other by wearing masks, washing their hands, not going out unless necessary, etc.. You know, all the things that the various agencies who deal with infectious diseases have also been telling everyone to do in order to limit the spread of this virus.
Then she, and also her son, somehow managed to catch the virus. Based on her online posts we all saw, her case made her feel like she wanted to die, but luckily neither her nor her son’s case were bad enough that they had to go to the hospital. They just had the fun opportunity to deal with the misery while at home. They both managed to get through the sickness and come out the other side.
The scary part? As soon as she had met the letter of the recommended time for keeping herself quarantined (which is, as I’ve read, if you can go 72-hours without having a fever while also not taking medication to reduce the fever), she had to get out of the house. And can you guess what she did the very night that she was “released” from her house? Yeah, you’re probably smart enough to see where I’m going with this… she went out to a social dance that very night. The state she moved to did not shut things down as much as other states have, so there was an option for a dance party near where she lived and she went.
Now, supposedly she only danced with two people during that party, and she made sure to wear a mask the whole time and wash her hands a lot, but still… from what I looked up, there has not been enough cases studied to see how long a person can remain contagious after the symptoms of the virus have passed. According to one thing I read, genetic material from the virus is still detectable up to two weeks after the infection has run its course, but they don’t know for sure if the infectious version of the virus is still present or not. So who knows if this was a good choice for her to do or not. Maybe it was fine, but then again maybe those two people she danced with need to go get tested?
This one was even closer to home than the last one. I’ve actually danced with this person, not just met and talked with them. The second confirmed person to be infected in the circle of names that I know also happens to be a dance person. Weird. Either that means that I really only know dance people, or all the non-dance people I know have gotten lucky and have avoided getting sick somehow.
I don’t know if I have a point for telling these stories this week. I’m not telling them to convince anyone to not go out social dancing if that’s what they want to do. Adults can choose what to do with their own lives. These are just the interesting dance-related notes I have this week. Unfortunately, these are interesting in kind of a sad way, because people were sick.
Let’s end things on a lighter note… this is related to what I wrote about last week. I made another friend! This very morning in fact! On my way to work this morning, I turned onto the second street after leaving the one I live on. A couple blocks down from my street, this little friend was just chilling in the road:
They were willing to cross the street on their own without needing to be picked up, though I was using my foot to direct them to cross the street in a straight line in an effort to get them across slightly faster. They kept trying to veer off to the right for some reason… silly turtle! Lucky for both of us, only one car went down this road while the turtle was making the trek across and into the brush on the other side, We had managed to get to the opposite shoulder by that time, so the turtle wasn’t in danger of getting hit by the car by then. Hooray!
Are you jealous of all the turtle friends I’ve been making lately?