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Risk for COVID-19 spread at indoor concerts is ‘low to very low,’ says new German study

A new music study from Germany suggests that indoor concerts might be returning sooner than experts previously predicted, if proper measures are taken. In particular, the study’s findings indicated the risk for COVID-19 spread to be “low to very low.” This finding was also predicated on a few key factors: event organizers’ adherence to hygiene, capacity protocols, and whether a venue has adequate ventilation.

The study took place this past August, wherby researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg held a concert at Leipzig’s Quarterback Immobilien Arena, an indoor venue capable of holding over 12,000 people. Using fog machines to study airflow, fluro-dyed sanitizer to monitor crowd contact, contact tracing devices, and computer modeling, the scientists studied a group of 1,400 volunteers for 10 hours across three different crowd arrangements. Importantly, this 1,400 member audience represents less than 12% of the arena’s maximum capacity.

The first arrangement used no social distancing, producing obviously unacceptable results. The second utilized moderate social distancing with checkerboard seating and produced more favorable results. The third arrangement seated pairs of 1.5 meters apart from their nearest neighbors, which produced excellent results. Overall, the results demonstrated that seating arrangement was the most crucial factor in accounting for the safety of attendees. Ultimately, the “checkerboard pattern seating” was the most essential in halting the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The study was also conducted with the use of N95 masks for all participants, with just over 10 percent of attendees reporting that they found the masks to be problematic. While the study focused solely on the safety of indoor concerts, the researcher’s findings also noted that results could positively inform organizers’ approaches to outdoor events in the 2021 festival season.

View the full findings of the study here and watch the below video for more information below.

H/T: The New York Times, ABC.