100-Person Dallas Choir Criticized for Performing Without Masks

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A 100-person choir in Dallas is facing backlash for performing without masks last weekend at a megachurch attended by Vice President Mike Pence. Some of their critics are members of another choir in Washington State who survived one of the first known "super-spreading" instances of COVID-19 in the country.

Mark and Ruth Backlund and Cynthia Richardson were among 53 members of the Skagit Valley Chorale who contracted COVID-19 back in March. Two other singers in the choir died from the virus.

"Any chance I got, I would lay down," Mark told Inside Edition. "I completely lost my appetite, and didn't want to drink fluids."

Jim Owen and Carolyn Comstock are still experiencing symptoms.

"I couldn't taste or smell anything," Carolyn said. "Jim and I both had that symptom and it's still not back all the way."

A practice held March 10 by the choir became known as the nation's first super-spreader event. It was before the Centers for Disease Control recommended that churches suspend choirs. 

Cynthia said the recent video of the Dallas choir was upsetting to watch.

"It seemed like they were sort of in our face. Like 'we can do what we want to and to heck with the regulations.'"

"This whole thing about masks has become so controversial," Mark said. "It seems to me it shouldn't be controversial."

They say what happened to them should be a lesson to choirs around the country.

For now, the COVID-19 survivors are keeping their practices limited to just a few members, and they hope the Dallas choir doesn't have to go through what they experienced.


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