What would you be willing to risk for some live music? Scientists in Germany will be holding an indoor concert next month as a giant COVID-19 experiment.
On August 22nd, 4,000 concert goers will head to a concert hall in Leipzig to watch pop artist Tim Bendzko. The volunteers, aged between 18 and 50, will be asked to wear a chain around their neck with a “contact” tracer that sends out a signal to detect movement and the amount of people they come in contact with. They’ll also be given hand-sanitizer that will be traceable through UV lights after the concert is over. This will allow the scientists conducting the experiment to track how germs can be smeared across surfaces.
The attendees will participate in three different scenarios. The first will be as if this event is a completely “normal” concert like you would have experienced before the pandemic. The volunteers will enter through the concert hall’s two main entrances and go to their seats. The second scenario opens up eight entrances and blocks off every other seat. The last scenario only allows 2,000 of the volunteers back in and has the seats spread out.
Now, this sounds risky, right? When was the last time you were in a room with 4,000 people? Six months ago that would have just felt like a normal concert. Now the thought feels so strange and uncomfortable. However, the research team is attempting to make their experiment as safe as possible.
All volunteers are being sent an at-home testing kit to take 48 hours prior to the event. Anyone who tests positive cannot attend. Participants will also all be provided with masks. This will hopefully minimize the risk but we should all know by now that risks cannot be fully eliminated when that many people are involved.
All of this is in the name of figuring out how to find as much normalcy as possible for the future.