German Scientists are Hosting a 4000-person Covid-19 Research Concert

tim bendzko restart 19 concert

Coronavirus brought live music, concerts, festivals, and the likes to a screeching halt back in March of this year.

Since then while many got creative through the quarantine with their live streams and virtual events, people are itching to get back.

Medical experts had said it loud and clear from the very beginning that they see large gatherings like these being pretty much the last thing to return. Many went on to say they don’t see them returning till mid-2021! But a group of German scientists have other ideas and willing to get extremely innovative to host such events with measures in place to ensure they don’t spread the novel coronavirus.

As part of a project called RESTART-19, scientists from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg are calling for 4,000 people to attend a concert at an indoor stadium in Leipzig with German pop singer Tim Bendzko on August 22. The $1.1 million project will see them testing multiple things such as trackable contact-tracing devices, fluorescent hand sanitizers with UV lights, etc.

Speaking to The Guardian, Stefan Moritz, the university’s head of clinical infectious diseases who is coordinating the experiment said,
“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.”

As per the official site Participants, aged between 18 and 50, will wear matchstick-sized “contact tracer” devices on chains around their necks that transmit a signal at five-second intervals and collect data on each person’s movements and proximity to other members of the audience.

The project will be shouldered between the federal states of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. The project’s organizers say the aim is to “identify a framework” for how larger cultural and sports events could be held “without posing a danger for the population” after 30 September.

Participants will be asked to disinfect their hands with a “fluorescent hand-sanitizer,” which will allow the researchers to use UV light to take inventory of the venue after the show, identifying highly used touch-points through smears. Moreover, they will implement fog machines that emit vapours and aerosols, which will help to further illuminate potential transmissions after RESTART-19 scientists utilize computer-generated models in advance of the concert.

As explained by The Guardian, in the first scenarios, the audience will attend the concerts as they would have done in pre-virus times, entering through two main entrances before taking their seats. In the second, “optimized” scenario, the crowd will enter through eight entrances to facilitate less mingling, and every second seat on the stands will be blocked.

In the third, strictly socially distanced scenario, only 2,000 spectators will be allowed to enter the 12,000 capacity venue and be seated at a 1.5m distance from each other.

At the time of writing, 878 people had registered for the concert. If all goes well, the scientists hope to present their findings based on the data in October.

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Melody Siganporia
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