No attendees at an indoor concert that employed rapid COVID-19 lateral-flow screening, N95 respirators, and a well-ventilated venue tested positive for COVID-19 in the next 8 days, showing no increased virus transmission risk associated with the event, according to preliminary findings from a randomized, controlled trial published yesterday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
A team led by researchers from the Germans Trias i Pujol University Hospital (GTPUH) in Barcelona, Spain, compared the coronavirus infection rate in 465 concert-goers aged 18 to 59 who were screened for COVID-19 and fever before entry and wore an N95 respirator throughout the event with 495 participants who were screened and then asked to go home. No concert-goers or 58 staff members tested positive 8 days after the event, compared with 2 in the control group.
“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, senior study author Josep Llibre, MD, PhD, of GTPUH, said in a Lancet news release emailed to journalists.
“As a result, our study does not necessarily mean that all mass events are safe.”
All venue entry, exit doors open
The concert took place in Barcelona on Dec 12, 2020, at a time when the prevalence of COVID-19 infections was low to intermediate, at 221 per 100,000 people, local travel was restricted, indoor gatherings were limited to six people, and COVID-19 vaccines had not yet been rolled out.
In a post-event questionnaire, concert-goers reported a satisfaction score of, on average, 8.6 out of 10 when asked to rate how well they were able to enjoy the performance. When asked how willing they would be to attend another event with the same mitigation protocols, the average score was more than 9 out of 10 (10 being most willing).