With the live music industry decimated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many are beginning to wonder when things will return to normal both here in Australia and overseas. Now a leading health expert has told the New York Times that the US may not see live gigs return until late 2021.

Zeke Emanuel is a bioethicist who is the vice provost for global initiatives and director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. He says that tours may not take place in America until fall (autumn) next year.

“Yes, restarting the economy has to be done in stages, and it does have to start with more physical distancing at a work site that allows people who are at lower risk to come back,” Emanuel explains, urging Americans to be realistic about how and when their lives will be reset.

“Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility.

“I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”

Emmanuel goes on to say that the US is facing an issue around testing, and even with better testing, we’re is likely to see a “rollercoaster” of COVID-19 cases rising and falling when countries open up and allow more activity.

“The question is: When it goes up, can we do better testing and contact tracing so that we can focus on particular people and isolate them and not have to reimpose shelter-in-place for everyone as we did before?”

It’s been well-documented over the past week or so that Australia has done a pretty good job of flattening the coronavirus curve, with all states and territories reporting a marked dropped in new cases.

Many international acts have either cancelled or postponed tours to later in 2020, but with this latest news, the chances of travel restrictions being lifted anytime soon seems optimistic at best.

Chugg Entertainment’s Michael Chugg recently told SMH he felt it could be over a year before international acts return to Australia. “I might be being pessimistic, but the way America and the UK are going… if we clean up the virus here why would you then start letting people in to start it all over again?” he said.

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has since confirmed ABC News Breakfast that international travel could well be off the cards for the remainder of 2020.

Byron Bay’s Splendour In The Grass is one major festival to have been officially rescheduled due to coronavirus social distancing regulations, with the 20th-anniversary edition of the popular event now set to take place in October.

However, the reality of acts like Splendour headliners Tyler, The Creator, The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and more touring here later in 2020 seems to be fading by the day.