Mike Portnoy (DREAM THEATER, THE WINERY DOGS, SONS OF APOLLO) and Alex Skolnick (TESTAMENT) have both expressed their concern over the increasing number of concerts and tours that are being canceled as the coronavirus is still spreading, especially among the unvaccinated.
In the past week, a number of high-profile hard rock and heavy metal artists — including TESLA, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, SHINEDOWN and LIMP BIZKIT — have called off shows or played concerts without members who have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The cancelations and the increased number of COVID-19 infections are driven in large part by the fact that the delta variant of the coronavirus, now the most common strain circulating in the United States, has a supercharged transmissibility, driven in part by how the mutated virus behaves in the body after infection.
Earlier today, Portnoy took to his Twitter to share several BLABBERMOUTH.NET headlines related to COVID-19 infections and concert cancelations, and he included the following message: "And this is just THIS WEEK!! I'm not scheduled to begin touring again til Oct, but I have a bad feeling about all of this…"
Portnoy's METAL ALLEGIANCE bandmate Skolnick concurred, sharing a press release about the cancelation of the 2021 edition of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and adding: "Same here and exactly right - Not looking good. Not everyone wants to admit it yet."
Portnoy's SONS OF APOLLO bandmate Jeff Scott Soto shared Mike's post, writing: "Taken from MP's feed, this really stinks...and please don't turn this into a political post, I'm bummed to hear even one of these acts had to pull out because ALL artists (& fans) are affected!
"Hoping this isn't a sign of things to come, I too have a LOT booked throughout the rest of the year!!"
New variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 illness are spreading in the United States and other countries. Current data suggest that COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States offer protection against most variants. However, some variants might cause illness in some people after they are fully vaccinated.
According to Healthline, data so far suggests efficacy rates against the delta variant of more than 67 percent for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 72 to 95 percent for the Moderna vaccine, and 64 to 96 percent for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Even though vaccines offer different ranges of protection, experts say getting fully vaccinated is crucial.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said earlier today that while vaccinated people can carry and spread the virus in what is known as "breakthrough infections," people largely driving the current surge were unvaccinated.
As the virus spreads, it can mutate and create more dangerous variants. Consequently, "there could be a variant that's lingering out there that can push aside delta," Fauci said.