COVID-19: German scientists looking for thousands of volunteers to attend gig in name of science

A crowd attends a music concert before the coronavirus pandemic hit Europe. - Copyright Pixabay


A German university is looking for volunteers to take part in a study aimed at putting concerts back on the agenda.

The coronavirus pandemic put an end to sports and cultural events due to the risk of transmission in large crowds.

Researchers at the University of Halle want to simulate different ways of getting large groups of people together to see how such events could be put on without risking the health of the general population.

The institution is looking for up to 4,200 volunteers to watch a gig by singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko on August 22.

It is looking to test three different scenarios to see which safety precautions are most suitable when putting on indoor events in the future.

Labelled "Restart-19", the study will see the German star perform for free to participants at the Leipziger Arena.


Concert-goers will be expected to behave as "realistically" as possible for researchers to record movement and contact patterns.

Participants will be tested for COVID-19 before 24 hours before the concert and be examined just before the gig.

They will each be given a tracker that measures their distance from the other participants, head researcher Stefan Moritzin told German public radio station MDR Jump.

An additional 50 sensors will be installed in the concert venue to identify points of contact.

All concert-goers will be asked to use fluorescent hand sanitiser for their own protection but also so that scientists can see areas that people touched often under UV light.

The first scenarios will resemble events as they were at the venue with audience-members will enter the building through two doors and take their seats.

In the second scenario, crowds will use eight entrances to enter the arena and every second seat taped off.

Only 2,000 spectators will take part in the third scenario — the venue has a capacity of 12,000 — and be a social distance of 1.5m will be observed when seating people.

Researches said they hoped to publish their findings in early October.

Almost 2,000 volunteers had registered for the free concert at the time of publication. The registration period ends on August 16.


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