The findings from a recent test concert in France show that attending a concert is not associated with an increased risk of transmission when certain hygiene and testing protocols are followed.
The clinical trial, organised by French live music association Prodiss and Paris hospital AP-HP under the banner ‘Ambition Live Again’, took place on 29 May at the Accor Arena (20,300-cap.) in Paris with DJ Etienne de Crécy and the band Indochine.
The trial compared the risk of contamination between two randomised groups: an experimental group of 4,451 people who attended the concert and a control group of 2,227 people who did not attend the concert.
In the first stage, 6,968 people took a rapid antigen test within three days of the concert. Of those, 290 people had ‘non-inclusion criteria’ – one of whom had a positive rapid antigen test – and were not allowed to participate in the experiment.
On the day of the concert, all participants had to present proof of their negative test at the entrance, either downloaded on the TousAntiCovid-Carnet app – which was trialled for the first time at a public cultural event – or in paper format.
THROUGHOUT THE EVENT, PARTICIPANTS’ COMPLIANCE WITH WEARING MASKS WAS ASSESSED BY AN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TOOL
The health protocols at the event included the continuous wearing of surgical masks by all participants, reinforcement of hand sanitisation, and optimised ventilation of the room. The bars/restaurants and the smoking areas were closed. Bottles of water were distributed at will.
Throughout the event, participants’ compliance with wearing masks was assessed by an artificial intelligence tool from images captured in real-time by cameras placed in the room thanks to a scientific collaboration with Datakalab.
During the four hours that attendees were present in the AccorArena, the overall compliance with wearing a mask was evaluated at 91%.
Seven days after the event, all participants were required to take a PCR test. The number of participants with a positive PCR test was eight among the 3,917 participants in the experimental group, compared to three among the 1,947 participants in the control group.
Among those eight participants in the experimental group, five were already positive on the day of the concert, excluding the possibility of contamination during the show. Some participants did not return their saliva samples or did not come to the concert.
PRODISS SAYS THAT ITS PRIMARY AIM NOW IS TO DISSUADE THE GOVERNMENT FROM A “STOP AND GO” APPROACH
In conclusion, the study showed a similar infection rate in people attending the indoor, standing concert while wearing a mask (0.20%) compared to the people not attending (0.15%). (The incidence rate observed in the study corresponds to the estimated incidence rate in France in the two weeks preceding the event.)
AP-HP is now submitting the analysed data from the study for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, while Prodiss has requested a meeting with the government to discuss next steps.
The association says that its primary aim now is to dissuade the government from a “stop and go” approach and avoid the live industry shutting down when the incidence rate goes up.
The Paris results follow similar positive data out of studies in multiple other European countries, all of which showed that live events do not pose a risk to public health while Covid-19 is still a threat.
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