Two have died and dozens have tested positive for Coronavirus after an outbreak within a group of 60 choir members who took part in a rehearsal earlier in March.
The large choir group from Skagit Valley Chorale had been debating whether to go ahead with their weekly choir rehearsal in early March. However, they decided to hold the gathering as normal at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church as their local area of Skagit County had not reported any cases of coronavirus yet, and the major outbreak in the region was an hour's drive away in the Seattle area.
The rehearsal took place on March 10, with 121 choir members told by email that the rehearsal would be on, although just half, 60, turned up on the day.
The group has since said that they had taken precautions at the choir gathering, offering hand sanitizer to everyone as they entered, and prohibiting any direct contact with one another.
However, nearly three weeks after the 2.5 hour rehearsal took place, 45 of the 60 choir members who attended have been diagnosed with coronavirus or are ill at home with symptoms.
The group has reported that of the 45 affected members, two have died and three others are hospitalized.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, more than half a dozen choir members have reported that no one showed any signs of sickness at the rehearsal.
However, health officials in the county believe that the virus most likely spread through the air from one or more members who had contracted the virus but were displaying no symptoms at the time.
The outbreak appears to reinforce warnings by many experts that although social distancing measures are vital in stopping the spread of the coronavirus, it is not a 100 percent guarantee.
The news comes as a stark warning as many officials across the United States and around the world struggle to enforce lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.
The United States now has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world, with around 140,000 testing positive, and more than 2,400 deaths due to COVID-19. Although each country's statistics of confirmed cases can be greatly skewed depending on testing capacity and strategy from nation to nation.