The New York Times reported on Tuesday that a team at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg published a study claiming that the risk of spreading COVID-19 during an indoor concert is “low to very low” as long as attendees follow proper hygiene protocols, the venue has a sufficient ventilation system, and it limits the capacity.
“There is no argument for not having such a concert,” one of the team’s researchers, Dr. Michael Gekle, said to the Times. “The risk of getting infected is very low.”
This comes after the team led by the head of the university’s clinical infectious diseases department, Dr. Stefan Moritz, created a controlled concert in August. For this experiment, the team enlisted 1,400 COVID-free volunteers to watch German pop singer Tim Bendzko perform for 10 hours at Quarterback Immobilien Arena in Leipzig, Germany.
During this performance, the fans simulated different concert scenarios. They had masks and hand disinfectant laced with fluorescent dye to track contact and possible transmissions. Researchers found that air that is properly circulated will reduce the risk of transmission. Also, social distancing is the most effective way not to pass the virus.
The president of epidemiology and public health at the Royal Society of Medicine, Dr. Gabriel Scally, said this study could be “potentially useful” for future gatherings. The expert warned it would be difficult to replicate this controlled environment during normal circumstances. Additionally, it should be noted that study has not been peer-reviewed.