German Scientists Announce Concert To See How Coronavirus Spreads

Gari Garaialde/Getty Images

German Scientists Announce Concert To See How Coronavirus Spreads

Gari Garaialde/Getty Images

German scientists are putting on a concert to see how COVID-19 spreads at large indoor venues, according to the Guardian (via BrooklynVegan). The plan is to recruit 4200 healthy volunteers ages 18-50 and outfit them with wearable tracking devices that transmit data on each person’s movements and proximity to other audience members every five seconds.

The experiment will run with German singer Tim Bendzko performing at a stadium in Leipzig next month. In addition to the trackers, concertgoers will disinfect their hands with a fluorescent hand sanitizer to help researchers identify what surfaces pose the most risk, and a fog machine will be used to visualize the potential spread of the virus through aerosols.

To minimize the chances that the simulation itself, called Restart-19, will spread the virus, each attendee will be required to test negative for COVID-19 48 hours before the event and show proof at the door. Everyone will also be given a face mask with an exhalation valve.

“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,” Stefan Moritz, head of clinical infectious diseases at the University hospital in Halle and the experiment’s coordinator, told the Guardian.

Restart-19 is expected to cost around €990,000 and will be paid for by the German states of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt and the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg. Over 1000 volunteers have already registered through the project’s website. The concert will be held 8/22, and the researchers’ goal is to comb through the data and present their findings by early October.

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