TORONTO – An initial study from Spain indicates that indoor concerts and other mass events can be safer with the help of a quick review and quality public health measures.
Investigate, published in The Lancet on Thursday and funded by Spanish concert company Primavera Sound Group, found that indoor concerts did not pose an additional risk of contracting COVID-19, and organizers used a rapid test prior to the event and provided a adequate ventilation.
For the study, the researchers invited about 1,000 people to a five-hour concert with four concerts in Barcelona on December 12, at a time when the number of cases was low in Spain, indoor gatherings were limited to six people in the country and vaccines no. still available.
Each of the participants was tested for COVID-19 using lateral flow tests, which provide results in approximately 30 minutes. Upon inspection, half of the participants were told to go home and work as a restraint, while the rest were allowed to enter the concert hall.
Upon entering, the remaining 465 participants received an N95 mask to wear during the concert. Participants were allowed to sing and dance as they pleased and did not demand physical distance.
There were separate areas for drinks and smoking, where crowd control measures and physical distance requirements were implemented.
Eight days after the concert, all participants had a follow-up test, not even one person who entered tested positive for COVID-19, while two who were sent home tested positive for COVID-19. According to the researchers, these low numbers suggest that there is no additional risk in attending this event compared to going home.
“Our study provides early evidence that indoor music events can occur without increasing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission when comprehensive safety measures are implemented,” said Dr. Joseph Lillipre, director of Trios I University Hospital. Pujol in Germany. in a press release.
“It is important to consider our findings in light of the situation in Spain at the time: when the cases were not high and there were many restrictions, as a result, our study did not mean that all mass events were safe.”
The researchers added that rapid tests played a key role in ensuring everyone was safe.
“In our study, the lateral flow tests were approximately 99.9 (percent) accurate in detecting negative results, as confirmed by the PCR test, and their short lead time would be more appropriate to be examined at events. of mass meetings, ”said Christina Casson. co-author of the Catalan Health study One of the authors.
“Other tests that work by detecting the genetic material of the virus can detect the remaining virus even as it spreads. These tests can produce positive results, which can prevent uninfected people from attending the event. “
While this research is promising news for fans of live music and live sporting events, the researchers also found that the preventative measures they possessed may not be reasonable in the real world as they can present cost barriers and some logistical challenges.
The researchers also noted that the participants may have acted differently than those attending a normal concert because they knew they were being watched and read. However, the participants were not mentioned in a post-concert questionnaire.
The researchers also found that vaccine rolls, the origin of the COVID-19 strains, and different infection rates locally could have an impact on the results if reexamined.
“Future trials conducted in different circumstances of COVID-19 infection should confirm its safety and classify the contribution of each preventive measure within a comprehensive intervention,” says the study. “Our findings pave the way for the reactivation of cultural activities that were disrupted during COVID-19, which could have significant socio-cultural and economic impacts.”