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German Researchers Stage Concert Experiment To Better Track How COVID-19 Would Spread

Fans in attendance wore special hand gel and had contract trackers to better trace high spread areas.


If you are a regular reader of Metal Injection, chances are you want tours and shows to return more than most. With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down any sort of live entertainment, it's hard to get a gauge on when a return to any sense of normalcy will be. When will there be shows again? Will they be social distancing? Will mosh pits ever be permitted again? We have to start somewhere, and a team of German researchers staged a concert to experiment and try to figure out what the safest protocols for resuming live concerts would be.

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CNN reports that 1,500 people gathered in the German city of Leipzig this past Saturday for a live performance from singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko. Fans in attendance were given respiratory face masks, fluorescent hand gel and "contract tracker" transmitters, which "determine the contact rates and contact distances of the individual experiment participants."

Using data from the contact trackers, scientists from The University of Halle will monitor the number "critical contacts" had by each participant during specific times and locations, while the residue left by fluorescent hand gel will identify frequently touched surfaces. Researchers hope to use the data to find ways to bring big events, including sports, back safely.

Three scenarios were run according to CNN, "one that simulated a concert pre-coronavirus, a second simulating a concert during the pandemic, with improved hygiene measures in place, and a third, with reduced participants."

The scientists plan to study the data and release conclusions by the end of the year for safest practices based on their research.

Another ripple in the research is the addition of alcohol. Of course, this is where metal gets a plug with Professor Michael Gekle saying "Of course, a concert with Rammstein would be different."

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Volunteers underwent testing 48 hours before the show and the area already had low infection rates.

Until shows re-open independent venues are still struggling. U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation aimed at providing relief to independent live venues, promoters and festivals across the nation. Or as you know it, the Save Our Stages Act. Since the pandemic shutdowns began in March, music venues, comedy clubs, and festivals have been shuttered with no revenue, high overhead and no timeline for when they can fully reopen. The National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) said that if the shutdown lasts six months or longer and there’s no meaningful federal assistance, 90% of its members would be forced to fold forever.

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