German researchers are seeking 4,000 healthy volunteers to attend a concert in order to help them assess the risks of coronavirus transmission in large crowds, reported DW. The participants must be free of the virus in order to take part in the study.
"Difficult decisions must be made to avert these dangers," the scientists from the Halle teaching hospital wrote on their website, warning about the coronavirus pandemic.
They also emphasized that the ban on large crowds poses "an existential threat for many athletes and artists, who depend on their audience for income."
The scientists would gather the participants in the Leipzig arena on August 22 for a concert by pop singer Tim Bendzko in order to bring "the behavior of the audience as close as possible to reality."
The audience will be put through three possible scenarios. In the first scenario, no one will be distancing. The second will feature stricter hygiene measures. The third will see audience members sitting in the stands at the recommended social distance of 1.5 meters (6 feet).
The participants would be provided with FFP2 filter masks. They will also be given a fluorescent disinfectant to both protect them and let the scientists track the surfaces most often touched by audience members.
Finally, the scientists will give the volunteers a device that will track their movements and their distance to the other attendees.
"The biggest challenge, I think, would be the evaluation of data," project leader Stefan Moritz said to the German DPA news agency.
"Because we would need to measure contacts to all other participants within a 30-meter radius every five seconds throughout an entire day," he added.
The researchers hope the experiment will help them identify possible scenarios under which artists and athletes could once again play and perform after September 30.