BERLIN | Is it possible to re-authorize popular concerts despite COVID-19? The German University of Halle conducted a gigantic life-size experiment on Saturday with more than 2000 participants to try to answer it.
• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic
A popular singer famous in Germany, Tim Bendzko, agreed to take part in this test by giving three mini-concerts in different formats in Leipzig during the day, with more or less spectators and distances between them or hygiene measures .
Objective: to give researchers the opportunity to determine what could be the best possible organization in order to avoid contamination. This is the largest type experiment carried out in Germany.
Only young and healthy people were accepted to try to limit the risk of contamination during these experiments.
“This project must lay the groundwork for a German-wide restart of the entertainment sector, as it is particularly affected by the restrictive measures linked to the COVID-19 pandemic”, said the regional science minister of the region of Saxony-Anhalt, Armin Willigmann, on the local TV channel MDR.
The region subsidizes research to the tune of one million euros.
Everything took place in a large concert hall in Leipzig.
The volunteers who came for the concerts had to present a recent negative test for the new coronavirus and had to have their temperature taken at the entrance.
They also all wore an FFP2 type mask and a device retracing all their movements and their contacts inside.
“There, I really realized that I was acting as a laboratory rat”, commented on MDR one of the volunteers, Robert Siemer.
Fluorescent disinfectants also made it possible to observe which surfaces participants touch most often with their hands.
And the university even measured the trajectories of aerosols exhaled by spectators, these small particles, which according to experts, play a role in contamination.
Thanks to the data collected, the researchers intend to define a mathematical model to assess the risks of propagation in a large concert hall. The results are to be published in the fall.
They are eagerly awaited by concert organizers and all those working in the cultural and entertainment sector. Most have been unemployed for months.
Large gatherings remain banned until at least the end of October and Chancellor Angela Merkel recently warned that she did not see any room for maneuver to ease restrictions at this time in the face of the rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the country. .
Germany has recorded more than 2,000 new cases in the past 24 hours, a record level since the end of April, during the peak of the pandemic.
Other projects are under study elsewhere in this area.
Experts from the Charité hospital in Berlin have just presented a concept that could allow the large concert halls of classical music and opera to be fully reopened, with the wearing of a mask compulsory for spectators.