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Covid Updates – Congregational Song

This page will be updated regularly as a count-down to when singing together is safe again based on current recommendations from the CDC and other public health institutions.


Total US Population Vaccination Percentage


Safe Congregational Singing:

National Threshold = 70% to 85% of population fully vaccinated

Current National Vaccination Rate = 25.4% (as of May 3rd, 2021)

Most up-to-date (and more specific state-by-state) stats can be found here: CDC COVID Data Tracker

Last updated: May 3, 2021


The most updated scientific study on music, aerosols, and COVID-19 can be found here.

A summary of the study by Center Director Brian Hehn can be found here.

36 thoughts on “Covid Updates – Congregational Song”

  1. Sandra Ollenberger says:

    Looking forward to hearing when it is safe. I am a director of music for my church and also a community choir. They are so missing singing. Please let me know.

  2. John David Horman says:

    Are there comparative studies on projected speech vs singing? Presently pastors speaking unmasked for 25 minutes seem to be deemed safe but a 4 minute solo by a trained soprano is freaking people out. This seems incongruous to me. Also I’d be interested in the differences in risks between “intimate singing” and “exuberant singing”. I’ve invented the terms because I don’t know of any other way to express it. Thank you.

    1. admtcfcs says:

      This is probably the best study to show things side-by-side:

  3. Ken Boer says:

    This article provides links to 5 studies that measure particles produced during breathing, speaking, and singing at different volumes:

  4. Gay Brangle says:

    This information is priceless! Thank you.

  5. Matthew says:

    Thank you for this graphic that can be shared with our churches! Just a suggestion, although I’m not sure if it can be done: you should also be factoring in those who survived Covid-19 over the last few months. Herd immunity (which makes singing safer) is reached through a combination of vaccination and infection, not only vaccination.

  6. Mary Clinard says:

    Does this indicate singing with or without masks?


    This is an amazing site. Thank you on behalf of thousands of music communities that want to sing.

  8. Larry Collins says:

    What do we care about the NATIONAL vaccination rate. My church is at nearly 65%. That’s the only rate that matters. When it his 80%. We’ll be open for business and singing with masks.

    1. admtcfcs says:

      Wonderful! So glad you all are tracking your local rate.

  9. Julie says:

    Is this threshold we are looking at for singing with masks or without, or does it make a difference?
    Also what if we know the vaccinate rate of our specific congregation, if that is above 80% does that mean we can sing safely?

    1. admtcfcs says:

      This is the threshold for when the whole country should be able to sing together unmasked and without social distancing. Local rates and safety guidelines before this national threshold is met will vary.

  10. Laura Trent says:

    We are a small, older, mostly vaccinated congregation, and very well spaced, so we are going to sing masked (and quietly) on Easter Sunday.

  11. Judith Hinds says:

    Where did the target of 70-85% come from? Thanks.

    1. admtcfcs says:

      There are varying targets (WHO, CDC, and Dr. Fauci), but the general range is somewhere between 60 and 85% to achieve “herd immunity”. You can read more about that in this article:

  12. We have celebrated Sung Mass online for a year although the church is closed to the public.

  13. Erik says:

    Any thoughts on guidelines for *outdoor* and socially distanced song? I’m looking at putting together an outdoor contemporary service this summer and need some data.

    1. admtcfcs says:

      This ecumenical consultation that we’ve been a part of has guidance for outdoor worship:

  14. Wes Bergen says:

    What if I know that over 80% of the people in the church building are fully vaccinated? Or 100% of those over the age of 16?

    1. admtcfcs says:

      Good question! We’re not sure yet. We know that when a large region (like the U.S.) reaches 75 to 80% vaccination, we’ll have what’s referred to as “herd immunity,” which means the spread of the virus will be minimized to a point where it does not pose an active threat. However, we’re not sure how that translates to very local situations since the spread could still come from outside of your community.

  15. Cynthia says:

    So this data is not indicative of safe rates for singing masked and distanced? I know that these are local decisions, but I am very interested not just in people’s “gut” feeling or “I feel comfortable” but on a good metric for masked+distanced+target percentage in my area (we can get it down to the zip code).

    1. admtcfcs says:

      Correct, this is for singing unmasked and without social distance. Currently, it is safe to sing together at a distance of 10 to 12 feet apart and masked. However “masked” means properly fitted masks worn correctly the entire time (which is very difficult if not impossible to regular for an entire congregation).

  16. Doreen Bergstrom says:

    Recently, in California, request to double mask when going into a place of business, ?church ?
    Seems double mask would be helpful to return to singing.

  17. Eric Wyler says:

    Do you have a source for “Currently, it is safe to sing together at a distance of 10 to 12 feet apart and masked. However “masked” means properly fitted masks worn correctly the entire time (which is very difficult if not impossible to regular for an entire congregation).” Thank you!

    1. admtcfcs says:

      That information is sourced from our work within the Ecumenical Consultation that has been publishing guidelines over the last 8 months or so. Their work is always passed through the CDC for critique and confirmation based on their current recommendations.

  18. Edgar White says:

    Greetings from Tennessee: I have read through your work and appreciate that some within the broader Church, for me within the UMC, are offering guidance for churches. Has anyone on the Consultation or at the Hymn Society reviewed the work of Drs. Shelly Miller (U of Col.), James Weaver(Ch. NFSHSA), Mark Spede (Clemson, Pres. CBDNA) and Jelena Srebic (U of MD). In Feb. & early March, our church worked with them to develop a Brief offering guidance on when, how and where to sing safely. I do see a few names on the Consultation (Drs. Burton & Weaver and possibly Brian Hehn), who have likely heard of this team’s work (which is supported by 31 national and international organizations on singing and music). Could you please put me in touch with one of your leaders who would be able to help us reconcile the work of these two exceptional groups of leaders?

    1. admtcfcs says:

      Yes. Brian Hehn just wrote a blog synthesizing the NFCS study as it pertains to congregational song. You can find that here:

  19. Emily says:

    Is there any information about a vaccinated soloist? Still masked until we reach the national threshold? Or is there a distance at which this is considered safe?

    1. admtcfcs says:

      The CDC just recently updated their recommendations for folks who are fully vaccinated (note: *fully* vaccinated).

  20. Jennifer says:

    New CDC guidelines say it is now safe to sing indoors masked. I am curious now that masks are not needed outdoors if they are still recommending masked singing and social distancing while singing outdoors.

    1. admtcfcs says:

      Can you please link to those new CDC guidelines?

  21. Elizabeth Bumgarner says:

    How often is the needle visual updated?

    1. admtcfcs says:

      Every Monday

  22. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you!

  23. Michelle says:

    Yes, please. A link to the guidance would be very helpful as I can’t seem to find ANY recent reference to singing. Guidance saying it’s safe (masked/unmasked, whatever) would be very useful as we prepare to resume singing.

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