Opera Singers Help COVID-19 Patients Breathe
By: Liz Valls
It is well known that Covid-19 has left lasting impacts on many across the globe. These include shortness of breath, damage to the alveoli which are tiny air sacs in the lungs, blood clotting, and many more. Since these symptoms can be very serious manya re taking an extra step in order to become healthier with the help of opera singers. The English National Opera (ENO) is expanding their popular well-being classes all over the United Kingdom.
The English National Opera has collaborated with a London hospital to teach singing lessons, also known as a recovery for Covid-19 patients. Suzi Zumpe, a singing coach, is helping patients that have had COVID-19 reclaim a normal breathing pattern. Each class is via Zoom and consists of breath exercises, posture fixtures, and facial exercises. According to the opera’s outreach manager, Jenny Mollica, this idea was developed during summer 2020. Many people recovered but still have suffered effects such as fatigue, chest pain, and shortness of breath . These people that have yet to fully recover have what is known as “long covid.” This just means that they don’t recover as fast as the average person, are of old age, or have respiratory problems.
At the start of this idea, there were twelve patients signed up to participate with ages ranging from their early 30s to early 70s. All participants have said they will keep up with the exercises and they have had "positive impacts for them both emotionally and physically," according to the press. Each person told vocal specialists their experience with Covid-19 and what had still been affecting them. Weekly group discussions were set up via zoom. Suzi Zumpe then led the posture and breath control classes. This includes different humming and breath control exercises. The whole idea behind this organization was to help people affected use more of their lung capacity more and more every day. The lungs greatly affected numerous patients. The pandemic all together has also damaged people's mental health. These breathing strategies learned in the classes could also help those struggling with anxiety in times like this.
With this gaining popularity, there are now clinics being planned out all over England to reach out to as many COVID-19 survivors as they can. The opera is hoping to have at least one thousand people join the organization as they move into the next phase. They are being supported by donations from people and gaining popularity from doctors talking about them.