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German Scientists Will Host a Concert for 4,000 People to Study the Spread of COVID-19

by Eben Diskin Jul 28, 2020

If you’re going to conduct a large research study, you might as well attend a concert while doing it. German scientists from Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg are hosting a concert to determine whether it’s possible to hold large indoor events without spreading COVID-19.

Stefan Moritz, who is organizing the concert, told The Guardian, “We are trying to find out if there could be a middle way between the old and the new normal that would allow organizers to fit enough people into a concert venue to not make a loss.”

The scientists are looking for 4,000 people between the ages of 18 and 50 to attend the concert featuring German pop singer Tim Bendzko. It’s being held at an indoor stadium in Leipzig on August 22.

According to the university’s website, banning large crowds has become a huge detriment to the careers of professionals across a variety of industries. The harsh limitations are described as “an existential threat for many athletes and artists, who depend on their audience for income.”

The participants will be expected to attend three separate concerts. In the first scenario, the 4,000 participants will attend the concert just like they would have done pre-pandemic; in scenario two, 4000 people will enter but social distancing will be implemented; in the second scenario, only 2,000 people will attend and remain at a distance of 3.5 feet from each other.

With the use of wearable contact-tracing devices, attendees will transmit data every five seconds, which will help scientists learn more about the spread of the virus in large indoor gatherings. Fluorescent hand sanitizer will be utilized to see which surfaces have been touched, and even the fog machine will be put to scientific use, to help visualize the virus’ potential spread via aerosols.

All participants will need to test negative for COVID-19 48 hours prior to the concert and all will have to wear a face mask with an exhalation valve.

By July 20, 775 volunteers had signed up for the event.

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