Covid: museums, theaters, and operas are the safest places, a study reads

Published by Cécile D. · Photos by My B. · Published on 18 February 2021 at 15h16
According to a German scientific study, operas, museums, and theaters are the public places with the lowest Covid-19 spread risk, on the condition health guidelines are complied with properly.

Are museums, operas, and theaters safe places for the general public despite the pandemic? A recent German study states they are. Specialized in opera news, Olyrix, unveils the content of this study led by Martin Kriegel (head of Hermann-Rietschel Institute, doctor in Immunobiology and Lecturer at Yale) and Anne Hartmann, Engineer and Research Associate.

Called “Covid-19 contagion via aerosol particles – comparative evaluation of indoor spaces with regard to the situational R-value” states museums, operas, and theaters are the public places with the lowest contamination risk, if health procedures are properly instated.

Kriegel and Hartmann have created infection risk models in order to assess the CO2 concentrations and the aerosol concentration. Their study hypothesis relies on one person infected in one of each place studied, among other non-infected people.

Both scientists have assessed airborne transmission and came up to the conclusion that by wearing an average mask, the transmission risk was reduced by fifty percent. This risk is even lower in live cultural places: museums, theaters, and operas are the places the public remains the most silent and where physical activities is less intense than in stores, public transit, or even at work. Cultural places are therefore the safest places.

Searchers also say the dose of aerosol particles inhaled in public places depends on four factors:

  • Volume flow of the contamination through the person
  • Level of activity
  • Air supply in the room
  • Duration of the stay

For the German study, scientists have recreated daily-life situations, sticking to the average time spend in different closed places, and complying with the official guidance, including ventilation. Results provided were calculated based on a reference value set to 1.

When reading the study, numbers speak for themselves: theaters, museums, and operas are the safest public places among those studied, reaching 0.5. It twice as better than in a supermarket, and far ahead of high schools, offices with several people, long train or bus commutes, or restaurants.

Here are the results of the study:

Theaters, operas, museums including facemask-wearing and limited to 30%: 0.5
Women’s hair salon including facemask-wearing: 0.6
Theaters, operas, museums including facemask-wearing and limited to 40%: 0.6
Public transit including facemask-wearing: 0.8
Supermarket including facemask: 1
Movie theater excluding facemask, limited to 30%: 1
Shopping including facemask, and 10sqm/person: 1.1
Movie theater excluding facemask, limited to 40%: 1.1
Restaurants 25% busy: 1.1
Fitness gym excluding facemask, 30% busy: 1.4
Gym excluding facemask, 50% busy: 1.5
Long-distance train & bus (3-hour trip) including facemask and 50% busy: 1.5
Open-office including facemask, and 20% busy: 1.6
Swimming pool: 2.3
Restaurants 50% busy: 2.3
High school including facemask, 50% busy: 2.9
Fitness gym including facemask, 50% busy: 3.4
High school excluding facemask, 50% busy: 5.8
Open-office excluding facemask, and 50% busy: 8
High school excluding mask, 100% busy: 11.5

This study is not the last one to come up to such results. The government says they are preparing the reopening of museums, but many other cultural places would like to reopen as well. With this scientific study by their side, they may claim their right to work to the government.

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