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Study that tested live indoor music concert in Spain resulted in no Covid cases

The non-vaccinated attendees were screened using antigen testing and wore masks in the well-ventilated venue.
May 28th 2021, 12:43 PM 11,711 43

A STUDY THAT trialed a live indoor music concert resulted in no Covid-19 cases after the event, where masks, antigen tests and ventilation were used.

The Lancet study – conducted in Barcelona, Spain, and funded by music concert organisers – offers preliminary evidence on impact of safety measures to reduce Covid-19 transmission.

The study was carried out in December, when local travel restrictions were in place, indoor meetings were limited to six people, and Covid-19 vaccines were not yet available.

All 465 event attendees were screened using rapid lateral flow tests before entry, wore masks throughout, and adhered to crowd control in the well-ventilated venue.

They were compared with 495 participants who were randomly assigned to go home after taking a lateral flow test and did not attend the concert.

None of the attendees tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection by PCR test eight days after the event, compared with two people in the control group.

The findings offer a step towards restarting music and other cultural activities that were halted during the Covid-19 pandemic – but the authors stressed the strict conditions in their study may be difficult to reproduce across many venues, or larger events with more attendees.

They urged that more research is needed to understand mass gatherings in different contexts of the Covid-19 pandemic (eg, local incidence, local seroprevalence, and vaccination rollout).

The first randomised controlled trial to assess the impact of comprehensive Covid-19 safety measures at an indoor live music concert reports zero cases of virus transmission, according to a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

Safety precautions included same-day screening of attendees using lateral flow Covid-19 tests before entry, mandatory N95 mask wearing, enhanced ventilation, and crowd control.

Participants were allowed to sing and dance in the concert hall room and there was no recommendation for physical distancing.

The study’s lead author, Dr Josep Llibre, of the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital, Spain, said: “Our study provides early evidence that indoor music events can take place without raising the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission when comprehensive safety measures are in place, but it is important that our findings are considered in light of the situation in Spain at the time – when cases were not high and many restrictions were in place.

“As a result, our study does not necessarily mean that all mass events are safe.”

Around 1,000 people aged between 18 and 59 years were recruited to take part.

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People were excluded if they had tested positive for Covid-19 or been in contact with a positive Covid-19 case in the previous two weeks, had pre-existing health conditions that are known risk factors for severe Covid-19 disease, or were living with older people at the time of the study.

The indoor event took place at the Sala Apolo venue in Barcelona, which usually has an event capacity of around 900 people.

The event itself lasted five hours and attendees spent an average of two hours and 40 minutes inside the venue. There were two DJ performances and two live music acts.

Drinks, including alcohol, were served in a separate bar room and there was a smoking area outside with controlled capacity and physical distancing.

You can read more about the study here.

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Gráinne Ní Aodha


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