Coronavirus: A Concert With 4,000 People to Study How the Virus Spreads

Researchers at Halle University Hospital in Germany will study the spread of COVID-19 during a massive concert that will be attended by 4,000 volunteers.



To what extent can cultural and sporting gatherings be allowed while the virus is still a threat? Researchers at Halle University Hospital (Germany) will study how Covid-19 could spread during mass events to determine the best course of action. To this end, they prepared three different scenarios that they will test during a concert by German singer Tim Bendzko on 22 August.

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4,000 attendees put to the test

Four thousand volunteers, healthy people between the ages of 18 and 50, will be tested for COVID-19  48 hours before the concert and will only be allowed to participate if they are negative. They will be equipped with an FFP2 mask and a fluorescent hand disinfectant to make it easier for researchers to identify the surfaces most touched by spectators.

Each of them will also receive an electronic gadget that will regularly inform them of their safety distance in real-time, and of the duration and frequency of their contact with other members of the audience. Once all data on spectator movements and interactions have been collected, it will be analyzed using an algorithm to understand how the new coronavirus spreads from person to person during mass events.

Three scenarios will be considered

The first scenario will be to create an atmosphere similar to that which existed before the pandemic (despite the masks) to see if our old behaviors are still possible today. The second scenario tested by the researchers is to control the entrances and movements of the spectators and finally, the third scenario will analyze the benefits of the social distance of 1.5 meters between the rows of seats.

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“The pandemic is paralyzing the events industry. As long as there is a risk of infection, no major concerts, trade fairs or sporting events are allowed. That’s why it’s so important to find out what technical or organizational conditions can actually reduce the risk of infection,” said Professor Armin Willingmann, Saxony-Anhalt’s Minister of Economics. So it will take another month to find out to what extent it is possible to organize major cultural or sporting events without endangering the health of the population.


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