Researchers in Germany are attempting to determine the risk of COVID-19 spreading at indoor events attended by large groups of people.
Live entertainment is the industry most drastically affected by worldwide COVID-19 lockdowns, as social gatherings are believed to be one of the main ways the novel coronavirus transmits.
University of Halle scientists' work on the RESTART-19 project are attempting to devise a way indoor sports and entertainment events can resume but with a reduced risk of COVID-19 exposure for attendees.
Around 1,500 people gathered Saturday in Leipzig for a live performance by singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko.
Before being admitted, fans were given COVID-19 tests and equipped with face masks, fluorescent hand gel and motion transmitters. Researchers played out three scenarios with their volunteers: a 'traditional ' live event, a crowded show with increased hygiene restrictions and a show built around the social distancing concept, with a smaller audience.
The hope is that the data gathered will equip governments and the live event industry with tools to minimize risk of infection and thereby resume operations in some form.
RESTART-19 project leader Professor Michael Gekle told CNN that there needs to be data on live events for life to return to normal.
"There is no zero risk if you want to have life," he said. "We want to give the politicians a tool in order to decide rationally whether to allow such an event or not. That means they have to have the tool to predict how many additional infected people such an event will produce."
With a number of pharmaceutical companies reportedly close to producing a COVID-19 vaccine, the World Health Organization estimated recently that the pandemic could be brought under control within two years.
WHO leaders have expressed optimism that modern technology and "global solidarity" the virus can be beat.
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