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LEIPZIG, GERMANY - AUGUST 22: Participants wearing FFP2 protective face masks watch singer Tim Bendzko perform in the RESTART-19 Covid transmission risk assessment study in a concert setting at an indoor arena during the coronavirus pandemic on August 22, 2020 in Leipzig, Germany. The study, organized by the University Hospital of Halle (Saale), simulates a live concert venue with several thousand audience members in three different scenarios in order to develop risk reduction measures for large events. Participants wear tracer devices to track their movements and sensors measure aerosol currents in the arena. All participants had to undergo a Covid-19 test within the last 48 hours and test negative in order to take part.

Take this with the biggest grain of salt you can find, because it’s early research, but it’s encouraging news nonetheless.

 

Researchers at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany put together a 1,200-person event at an indoor entertainment venue in order to study the transmission of COVID-19. The “concertgoers” were all masked and–over the course of hours–researchers conducted tests focusing on how air flow, seating, entrance protocols, and other factors affected viral transmission.

 

One of the researchers, Dr. Michael Gekle, summed up the study in this quote: “There is no argument for not having such a concert. The risk of getting infected is very low.” Other scientists are skeptical about the conclusions drawn, pointing to flaws in some of the ways the tests were condcuted. The A.V. Club has a more in-depth breakdown of the study here.

 

Here’s hoping this early research acts as a jumping-off point for more studies that will eventually lead to a safe, viable return of live music. The artists, venues, and support staff all need it.