Coronavirus crowd study: German researchers find ‘glimmers of hope’ after inviting thousands to indoor concert in Leipzig

In one scenario modeled by the scientists, the infection risk for participants and their contacts was around 70 times lower when health and safety instructions were followed, compared with what it could have been under pre-pandemic behavior.

“A concert or handball game with a strictly enforced safety protocol is safer than the participation in a big wedding,” said Michael Gekle, the dean of the medical department at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, who was involved in the research.

The scientists’ conclusions are based on an experiment that drew around 1,400 people to an indoor concert simulation in August, hosted in one of the country’s largest venues in the eastern German city of Leipzig.

The researchers from the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, a public institution, used tracking devices to gather data on the movements and behavior of participants, all of whom had to test negative for the virus to be allowed to participate. Over the following two months, the data gathered during the day-long experiment in August was fed into a computer simulation to estimate the hypothetical spread of the coronavirus for varying safety protocols and infection rates.

Finding a balance between economic incentives to fill a venue as much as possible and safety constraints to limit the risks was the main goal of the experiment that looked at three scenarios.

In the first, participants — while still wearing masks — pretended that the pandemic did not exist, allowing the researchers to create a detailed computer simulation of a concert with no social distancing and with an auditorium at full capacity.

In the second scenario, organizers imposed light social distancing rules and reduced the number of participants. This scenario, the researchers said Thursday, would provide sufficient safety to hold indoor events up to an infection rate of 50 new cases per 100,000 people within a week. Germany deems regions that cross this threshold as risk areas.

Events could still be held with infection levels above that rate, the researchers found, but only if organizers were to follow stringent distancing, as modeled in a third scenario.

In all three scenarios, participants had assigned seats.

The researchers cautioned that participants’ safety largely depends on face masks and on indoor ventilation systems, which were both found to play a critical role in preventing infections.

Germany already approved a $580 million program last month to improve ventilation systems in museums, theaters and other spaces. As long as no effective vaccine has been widely distributed more funding for ventilation will be needed, said Stefan Moritz, who headed the experiment. “This pandemic won’t be over in a few months,” he said.

In the lead-up to the concert, the prospect of the experiment sparked hate mail and accusations that it would become a superspreader event, but the researchers said Thursday that the concert had resulted in no known infections.

The release of their findings Thursday came at a pivotal time in Germany, and one day after Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a month-long partial national lockdown this

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Quidel Corporation Joins Global Lyme Alliance as Sponsor for the GLA ‘Fight Lyme With Avril Lavigne and Friends’ Virtual Concert Oct. 24

As part of its commitment to help educate Americans on the perils of Lyme disease, Quidel Corporation announced today that it will be one of the sponsors of the inaugural Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) “#FightLyme With Avril Lavigne & Friends” concert being held on Oct. 24. Quidel is the diagnostic health care manufacturer behind the industry’s most rapid and reliable in-office test for Lyme disease, the Sofia 2 Lyme FIA test.

“The Global Lyme Alliance has been a passionate and important partner for Quidel in our fight against Lyme disease,” said Judi Tilghman, Ph.D., vice president of technology assessment at Quidel. “Over the years they have helped fund the most urgent and promising research in the field, while expanding education and awareness programs for the general public and physicians. We’re honored to be their partner for this wonderful upcoming event.”

Being held in lieu of its annual gala, GLA will be presenting the inaugural #FightLyme With Avril & Friends virtual concert featuring Avril Lavigne, Rob Thomas, OneRepublic, Alessia Cara and host Wilmer Valderrama. The concert is designed to raise awareness and funds for GLA and The Avril Lavigne Foundation in support of their fight to conquer Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases through research, education, awareness and patient services. Both Lavigne and Thomas have experienced Lyme disease on a personal level, and Lavigne is also a GLA board member who has been extremely vocal about the fight against Lyme disease.

The Oct. 24 concert will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern Time. Tickets can be purchased and more information is available at https://tinyurl.com/y54dn89a. More information on the Global Lyme Alliance can be found at GLA.org.

Lyme disease afflicts as many as 400,000 Americans every year and can lead to a number of serious, life-threatening problems if not caught early. Leading the way in Lyme disease testing is Quidel’s innovative Sofia® 2 Lyme FIA test. This test provides a patient as well as his or her physician with indicative results within minutes as opposed to days, which has historically been the norm. Performed in the privacy of a doctor’s office or local clinic, it is also the only test that can get results from a simple finger prick of blood. Given that the vast majority of patients tested are negative, not having to wait days for test results allows physicians and nurse practitioners to more rapidly treat those patients with positive results while more quickly pursuing other diagnosis and treatment for those who test negative.

About Quidel Corporation

Quidel Corporation (Nasdaq: QDEL) is a leading manufacturer of diagnostic solutions at the point of care delivering a continuum of rapid testing technologies that further improve the quality of health care throughout the globe. An innovator for over 40 years in the medical device industry, Quidel pioneered the first FDA-cleared point-of-care test for influenza in 1999 and was the first to market a rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen test in the U.S. Under trusted brand names Sofia®, Solana®, Lyra®, Triage® and QuickVue®, Quidel’s comprehensive

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