This is interesting, and I can’t wait to see the results. I’m guessing all of you will be interested as well because with or without a vaccine for COVID-19, the results of the study outlined below could be helpful in deciding what we can and can’t do.
DW, a German public international broadcaster funded by the German federal tax budget, reported that 1,500 people attended a concert Aug. 22 in the city of Leipzig. It was organized by scientists seeking to study the risk of virus transmission during large events. There are high hopes as large entertainment venues and sporting events remain shut down.
Scientists from the German University of Halle observed conditions at the concert where they hope to learn more about the risk of infection at large events.
The study comes as events and large gatherings remain banned in Germany until at least November. Most concert organizers and entertainment industry staff around the world have seen their work dry up in recent months.
Popular German singer Tim Bendzko volunteered to play three separate concerts over the course of the day, which would test different configurations of the event.
The experiment involved 1,500 concertgoers, who were mostly young, healthy and not belonging to any highrisk group.
Attendees had to provide a negative COVID-19 test result prior to the concert and their temperature was taken upon arrival at the venue. They wore face masks during the event and were fitted with contact-tracing devices, which would complement sensors on the ceiling of the venue that collected data on their movements.
Data collected during the experiment will be fed into a mathematical model, which should help scientists evaluate the risks of the virus spreading in a large concert venue. The results are expected this fall.
“We want to study how much contact the participants have with one another during the concert, which is actually still not clear,” research lead Stefan Moritz said.
Fluorescent disinfectant was also distributed. “After the event, we can see with ultraviolet lamps which surfaces glow in particular, meaning they were touched particularly often,” Moritz said.
After the event, Moritz said “the data collection is going very well, so we have good quality data, the mood is great and we are extremely satisfied with the discipline in wearing masks and using disinfectant"
Halle scientists also tracked the movement of aerosols, which are the smallest particles in the air that can carry the virus.
Scientists ran three scenarios at the concerts. The first scenario was meant to resemble concerts before the pandemic, without any coronavirus measures.
The second scenario involved viewers following health and safety guidelines, while the third scenario involved a reduced number of attendees who were kept 1.5 meters apart from each other.
Data collected during the experiment will be fed into a mathematical model, which should help scientists evaluate the risks of the virus spreading in a large concert venue.
The results are expected this fall.
The aim of the experiments is to find out whether concerts and other large events such as professional sporting events could be allowed to resume while avoiding high-infection risks.
“It's all about taking an evidencebased approach,” said Michael Gekle, dean of the medical faculty at Halle University.
I’m all for an evidence-based approach to give us some guidance in this pandemic battle.
So far, it’s been a highly emotional battle highlighted by fear — and rightfully so.
Studies such as this may help take some of that fear away as well as provide some guidance for businesses, schools and life in general.
I’m eager to hear the results and hopefully some good news comes out of it that can help get our businesses and lives closer to where they were before COVID-19.