Summer music festivals have returned — just in time for the latest coronavirus surge

Sixteen months after summer music festivals were silenced by the coronavirus pandemic, a more infectious variant is showing up to this year’s gatherings like an unwelcome gate-crasher.

As of Friday, the seven-day average for new daily cases in the United States jumped 57 percent from the previous week, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. With the delta variant pushing new infections and hospitalization rates upward, the horns of triumph for summer music festivals are starting to sound more like a sad trombone.

After 2020′s summer of shutdowns, fans, musicians and promoters are eager to return to the stage — as are many of the cities that host the lucrative events. It’s made major music festivals seem like an unstoppable force and, to health experts, an avoidable risk.

“I would probably not recommend [going],” said Maria Alcaide, an infectious-disease specialist who directs the Infectious Diseases Research Unit with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. She cited the “significant” uptick in the number of new cases and hospitalizations, primarily driven by unvaccinated people.

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