How to deal with COVID and tango in summer 2021?

Just found this on facebook. This is how Tango Beat in California does it.


How is it handled in your local scene?

Because of the relative radio silence, I’m going to be loud as fuck:


It’s been only 5 days since your last exposure, which is the minimum time to do a test. You should be continually testing until ideally 7 days, but minimally 5 days, before yoloing carefully w/ a mask. I tested ⊖ on Wednesday only to test ⊕ today. This is especially relevant if you did a rapid, which is better at catching positivity while you have symptoms, but not when you are presymptomatic/asymptomatic. Since PCR’s are taking a while right now in Austin, this means you cannot be sure if you are positive or not. At the very least, if asymptomatic, negative test 7 days after exposure. If symptomatic, vaccinated, negative test 10 days after symptoms.

You can be contagious for up to 2 days prior to being symptomatic. Vaccinated people with the delta variant shed as much virus load as unvaccinated people.

There are AT LEAST 14 people positive from the event that I know of, which is 25%+ of the participants. The majority were fully vaccinated. Most are minorly symptomatic, but some are pretty sick, Devon being one of them.

If you test positive, you should be informing everyone that you were in contact with instead of keeping it to yourself. There’s no shame in being positive. It could have happened to any of us. Be transparent, keep people around you safe.

Free w/ Insurance (Rapid):
Free (Rapid):
Free (PCR): COVID-19 Testing & Health Services | Curative
Free (PCR): Austin Public Health

If you think this is too political, fuck you. We lost 3k from canceling our event and might miss our next gig too. People are seriously sick, and we don’t want more to be sick.

If you would like to anonymously tell me your results/track the numbers, please DM me. I will keep all info confidential if requested.

This has been a PSA (Pissed Service Announcement)

@mitramartin - here are a few thoughts:

Delta Tango Foxtrott?

It’s August 2021, and we are in the 18th month of the global COVID-19 pandemic. After three larger lockdowns in Europe, we should be in a hopeful state of mind: vaccinations are available, and in Europe, more than 50% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated.

In countries like Germany, France, or Italy, where the government has taken measures to protect the medical system, tango has been on hold for most of these months. Now that infection numbers have been very low, tango events have started in some regions, utilizing corona concepts of “2G” (only vaccinated or recovered) or “3G” (only vaccinated, recovered, or tested virus-free).

In countries like Poland, the government was less restrictive, and tango has basically endured and survived. According to stories of dancers, the Warsaw tango scene has experienced three COVID waves of infections in late 2020, and none since. “Warsaw is probably one of the safest places to dance in summer 2021: you’ll encounter either dancers who are vaccinated, or who have recovered from a 2020 infection”.

Of course, it’s not that simple: the delta variant has become the dominant variant of SARS-CoV-2, and its contagiousness is dramatically increased. Even vaccinations don’t fully protect against infections with observed symptoms, and recent studies mention that the virus can be spread by both vaccinated and unvaccinated alike. Only against severe or lethal cases do vaccines bring additional protection.

What does that mean for tango? How should we move into the fall or winter of 2021, and when will we be able to dance freely again?

Let’s think through three scenarios:

# 1 - Wild and Free, but Responsible.

Let’s be inspired by Warsaw’s tango scene. Dancers there are not afraid, and seem to exhibit responsible behavior: if you are with symptoms or tested positive, you notify your friends who you had contact with during the last Milongas, and you stay at home for two weeks. Ideally, you also don’t visit your grandmother for a week after visiting a Milongas, just to be sure you didn’t catch something contagious. Ideally, everyone is vaccinated, to reduce the risk of severe infection.

To summarise: the individual owns her own risk, and also expects that of others, while also sending warnings to people to give them a chance to decide if they want to self-quarantine.

# 2 - Respectful and Protective, but Resourceful

Let’s be inspired by Vienna’s tango scene, where the first events are under a “vaccinated/recovered/tested” regulation, but only with PCR tests, which seem to be available free or at an affordable price. To summarise: the community takes care of minimizing the risk for all, utilizing the technocratic availability of affordable high-trust PCR tests while expecting everyone to either accept this status-quo or go somewhere else.

# 3 - Risk avoidance, but Familiar and Accountable

Let’s be inspired by an unknown tango scene, where illegal milongas are happening in people’s homes. Here everyone knows everyone, and there’s a social contract that everyone takes care of everyone else. This also means that there are no required tests, but it’s expected of everyone to follow the rules: don’t bring the virus into the bubble, and stay home before you put the family at risk!

Which scenario would you feel comfortable with?

As I wrote above: we do want to go back to a world without the pandemic, but chances are high that this will never again be the case. This means: we will need to live with the virus. Also in tango, we will need to figure out what is acceptable, and what is not.

Don’t forget one thing: whenever the government took charge and imposed a new set if societal rules during the pandemic, it was only one end goal: to prevent the pandemic from overloading the hospital system and killing thousands of people in a short time. Epidemiological models have shown that to be a possibility, and so far every country has found its way through the pandemic without excessive mayhem. Some better, some worse. Some are more restrictive, some less restrictive.

But, what does that mean for tango? Now that vaccines are available, and the most at-risk populations have been offered to be vaccinated (and a high %age actually is vaccinated), the risk of hospitals overflowing is getting smaller and smaller.

Should we use rules and concepts that were used for influencing masses to break down the Rt-value of the pandemic to manageable levels, and apply them to Milongas?

I think we need to re-think that because we must evaluate risks on an individual and community level, but not on a societal level.

Let’s take that thought example for a ride from the perspective of a dancer.

How can I adjust my behavior to maximize dance pleasure and minimize the risk of getting infected?

Let’s consider four levels of risk and consequence:

  • Protection of myself
  • Protection of my family (loved ones, …)
  • Protection of people I dance with
  • Protection of my community

Protection of myself: I want to minimize the risk of being infected, but I also want to dance.

  1. Best case: I attend an event where I can be 100% sure that nobody can infect me because then I can be free and dance as much with whoever wants to dance with me.
  2. Since I can’t ever be ~100% sure unless everyone is PCR-tested within 24h of the event, I can reduce the risk to myself by choosing who I dance with (are they risk-averse?)
  3. And to be on the safe side: being vaccinated reduces my risk of becoming a severe case, getting long covid, or even death; even though it might not reduce the chance of infecting someone else.

Protection of my family: I want to minimize the risk of bringing back the virus into my family, but I also want to dance.

  1. Anything that reduces my personal risk, also reduces the risk to my family.
  2. If I have persons of high risk in my family, I might want to make sure that I don’t see them up to 7 days after a milonga.
  3. Testing myself a few days after the milonga should help to assess the risk I pose to my family better.

Protection of people I dance with: I want to minimize the risk of bringing the virus into the milonga, but I want to dance freely.

  1. I might want to make sure that I don’t take any risks of getting infected for 5 to 7 days before a milonga.
  2. Testing myself one day before the milonga should help me to not accidentally bring the virus into the milonga. Ideally PCR, but antigen tests (2 at 12 h difference?) should do, as well.

Protection of my tango community: I want to minimize the risk of the virus spreading in the community because I want to dance as much as I can.

  1. I will try to be certain that I don’t bring the virus into the milonga, through testing and risk-averse behavior in the days before the milonga.
  2. Since there can be a few days between getting infected, and noticing symptoms, while at the same time being already contagious:
    2.1. I will regularly test myself, e.g. every 2-3 days.
    2.2. I will not go to the milonga without being tested.
    2.3. I will not go to milongas on consecutive days.
  3. If I should become infected, I will notify people I danced with, and the organizers of these events, as soon as I know it, so they can react accordingly, and prevent further spreading in the community.
  4. If I should become infected, I will quarantine myself, and not go out dancing until I have recovered, and have been tested negative for the virus.
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Thank you for this thoughtful and comprehensive analysis. I wish for easy answers and as I read your list of options, I know that there are none. For now, I am not dancing tango beyond my kitchen with my spouse. :slightly_frowning_face:

@daniel Thinking about the three scenarios you offer I’m curious about the focus on milongas, and whether there are alternatives that emphasize practice. Practicing can be super productive with just 1-3 stimulating practice partners and feels like a promising way of keeping the tango scene alive while maximizing the safeties you mentioned. It seems like a positive way of working with pandemic constraints.

This is perhaps similar to your scenario #3, but I also think that there’s not reason why a small family-like bubble of dancers can’t also be explicit in requiring participants make agreements about vaccination/testing. I wonder what would create more motivation for people to set up practice bubbles like this and make them visible. Thoughts?

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Also since it’s summer why are there not more outdoor events? Will being completely outdoor on a breezy night help minimize transmission? Probably a little but not entirely.

It’s all starting to feel really long.

Maybe this is useful: its a tool that helps you to calculate your individually cumulative risk, so you can make better decisions in not staying at home during the continuing pandemic

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Great tool. Thanks!

Yes, thanks so much for this tool @daniel .

Here is something I saw on Facebook that the NYC community used when there were cases in their area: Anonymously Self-Report A COVID-19 Case at NYC Milongas