With the COVID-19 pandemic stretching into its eighth month and no global end in sight, scientists in Germany have tried to find a way to put on concerts as they once were.

Several months back, the University Medical Center of Halle (Saale) held an experimental concert at Leipzig’s Quarterback Immobilien Arena to study how COVID-19 spreads during large-scale events. Three scenarios tracked and traced contact between approximately 1200 volunteers — the first run with no social distancing, the second with moderate social distancing, and the third with reduced capacity and ample distance between parties of two.

As expected, the first scenario yielded poor results, but as social distancing and ventilation were more strictly enforced, the potential risk for spreading the virus went down. Dr. Michael Gekle, a researcher on the study, concluded: “There is no argument for not having such a concert. The risk of getting infected is very low.”

“Such a concert,” meaning the most ideal scenario in the study, would mean operating at a cripplingly-low capacity and requiring all audience members to wear N95 respirator masks at all times. The iteration would also include upping venue staff with more ticketing and security and proper room ventilation. For more in-depth analysis, check out the entire study here.

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Photo: Luis Levrato