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We will post stories here related to COVID-19 that is of particular importance to the entertainment industry. If you have any information or stories to recommend including, please send them to info@asepo.org.

  • Thu, May 21, 2020 11:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The CDC updated their guidance to emphasize that COVID-19 does not spread easily from touching surfaces or objects. Its primary means of transmission is close or direct person-to-person contact, and through airborne respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.


    The best way to protect yourself? Maintain social distance, wash your hands, and routinely clean frequently touched surfaces.


    Click the page below to view it on the CDC website.




  • Mon, May 18, 2020 12:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)



    BOSTON, MA — IATSE announced Monday they have hired a team of three epidemiologists to consult the union on best practices for workers in the entertainment industry to safely return to work. The move comes as workers in all sectors of the industry face unprecedented levels of unemployment as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and employers look to find a way to resume business.


    IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said, “We want everyone to get back to work as soon as possible, but we need to do it right. We are working with these epidemiologists and employers to create standards that will apply across the board in the US and Canada, so no production or worker is left behind.”


    The epidemiologists include:

    • David H. Wegman, M.D., M.P.H., Emeritus Professor of Work Environment at Umass Lowell and Adjunct Professor for the Harvard School of Public Health
    • Letita Davis, ScD, EdM, director of the Occupational Health Surveillance Program (OHSP) in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
    • Gregory R. Wagner, M.D., Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

    The nature of the entertainment industry presents unique challenges in a global pandemic. Much of the live event industry is dependent on drawing crowds of people for revenue. And behind the scenes, many workers, like those in Hair and Make-up and Wardrobe departments, must work in extremely close proximity to others to do their jobs. “Creative jobs will require creative measures to come back safely,” said Loeb. “These professionals will help us uncover what those measures should be.”


    Click to read their full bios HERE.


  • Thu, May 14, 2020 9:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    NY Times

    by Knvul Sheikh

    May 14, 2020


    A new study shows how respiratory droplets produced during normal conversation may be just as important in transmitting disease, especially indoors.


    Coughs or sneezes may not be the only way people transmit infectious pathogens like the novel coronavirus to one another. Talking can also launch thousands of droplets so small they can remain suspended in the air for eight to 14 minutes, according to a new study.


    The research, published Wednesday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help explain how people with mild or no symptoms may infect others in close quarters such as offices, nursing homes, cruise ships and other confined spaces. The study’s experimental conditions will need to be replicated in more real-world circumstances, and researchers still don’t know how much virus has to be transmitted from one person to another to cause infection. But its findings strengthen the case for wearing masks and taking other precautions in such environments to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.


    Scientists agree that the coronavirus jumps from person to person most often by hitching a ride inside tiny respiratory droplets. These droplets tend to fall to the ground within a few feet of the person who emits them. They may land on surfaces like doorknobs, where people can touch lingering virus particles and transfer them to their face. But some droplets can remain aloft, and be inhaled by others.


    Elaborate experiments have revealed how coughing or sneezing can produce a crackling burst of air mixed with saliva or mucus that can force hundreds of millions of influenza and other virus particles into the air if a person is sick. A single cough can propel about 3,000 respiratory droplets, while sneezing can generate as many as 40,000.




    To see how many droplets are produced during normal conversation, researchers at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and the University of Pennsylvania, who study the kinetics of biological molecules inside the human body, asked volunteers to repeat the words “stay healthy” several times. While the participants spoke into the open end of a cardboard box, the researchers illuminated its inside with green lasers, and tracked bursts of droplets produced by the speaker.


    The laser scans showed that about 2,600 small droplets were produced per second while talking. When researchers projected the amount and size of droplets produced at different volumes based on previous studies, they found that speaking louder could generate larger droplets, as well as greater quantities of them.


    Although the scientists did not record speech droplets produced by people who were sick, previous studies have calculated exactly how much coronavirus genetic material can be found in oral fluids in the average patient. Based on this knowledge, the researchers estimated that a single minute of loud speaking could generate at least 1,000 virus-containing droplets.




    The scientists also found that while droplets start shrinking from dehydration as soon as they leave a person’s mouth, they can still float in the air for eight to 14 minutes.


    “These observations confirm that there is a substantial probability that normal speaking causes airborne virus transmission in confined environments,” the authors wrote in the study.


    The researchers acknowledged that the experiment was performed in a controlled environment with stagnant air that may not reflect what happens in rooms with good ventilation. But they still had reason to believe their reported values were “conservative lower limit estimates” because some people have a higher viral load, meaning they may produce droplets with several thousand more virus particles than average.


    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says keeping at least six feet away from others can help people avoid contact with respiratory droplets and lower the risk of infection. But many scientists have argued that droplets can travel farther than six feet, depending on the force with which droplets are launched, the surrounding temperature, whether there are air currents that can carry them farther and other conditions.


    There is also debate about whether the coronavirus can also be transmitted through even smaller droplets — less than a tenth the width of a human hair — that are known as aerosols, and can remain suspended or travel through the air for longer.


    In another recent study, the same authors showed that just articulating certain sounds can produce significantly higher amounts of respiratory particles. The “th” sound in the word “healthy,” for example, was a very efficient generator of speech droplets. Another paper, published in January by researchers from the University of California, Davis, found the vowel sound “e” in “need” produces more droplets than the “a” in “saw,” or “o” in “mood.”


    What researchers don’t yet know is whether all speech, cough and sneeze droplets carrying virus particles are equally infectious, or if a specific amount of virus needs to be transmitted for a person to get sick by breathing it in.


    But the new study adds to the case for maintaining a physical distance from other people to help slow the spread of coronavirus, said Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech who was not involved with the paper.


    “Based on this and other evidence, it would be wise to avoid extended face-to-face conversations with other people unless you are far apart and in a well-ventilated space, including outdoors,” Dr. Marr said.


    The study also highlights the importance of wearing masks during social and other interactions.


    “The risk of talking to one another will probably be lower than being exposed to a person who is not wearing a mask and openly coughs and sneezes,” said Dr. Werner E. Bischoff, the medical director of infection prevention and health system epidemiology at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. “Normal talking to a person while keeping the recommended social distance will be fine. Putting on a mask will be even better.”




  • Wed, May 13, 2020 9:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    May 13, 2020

    Hollywood Reporter

    by Carolyn Giardina




    Jonathan E. Fielding, who served as Los Angeles County's public health director and health officer for 16 years, has joined up with SAG-AFTRA to advise the union as it develops safety standards and protocols for preventing the spread of COVID-19 when production resumes.


    “COVID 19 remains a most serious health threat to all those who want and need to return to work. Therefore developing guidelines to safeguard people’s health as they work is a critical element of reopening this important industry,” Fielding, who is also a distinguished professor of health policy and management and of pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles Schools of Public Health and Medicine, said Wednesday in a statement.


    Fielding's work with the union will begin with evaluation of data available from public health organizations such as the CDC and World Health Organization, and from labor relations and industrial sanitation and safety representatives of studios, networks and industry-related organizations. This will help to inform the union’s recommendations to labor allies, sister unions and entertainment and media industry employers. According to SAG-AFTRA, the resulting protocol "will look at all stages of the production process from socially distanced casting to preproduction testing to regular temperature monitoring, zoned production and rigorous sanitation measures to guidance on personal considerations on limiting exposure outside of production."


    Said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris: “We are working tirelessly to establish a structure that will allow our members to safely return to work. Dr. Fielding’s expertise is a critical piece in solving the unique challenges our industry presents.”


    Fielding, a cum laude graduate of the Harvard School of Medicine who holds an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health, as well as an MBA from the Wharton School of Business Administration, previously served as a member of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ National Health Security Strategy committee. He also chaired the Task Force on Community Preventive Services appointed by the CDC Director.



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