US News: Covid-19. Six times more risk of contagion in schools than in cultural places

Covid-19: variants still cause more concern in France

 Covid-19: variants still cause more concern in France © AP - Thomas Samson The French Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, February 8, 2021 in Melun. As France prepares to pass the 80,000 death mark from Covid-19, the spread of the British and South African variants of the virus is raising a climate of fear for the coming weeks. But Olivier Véran, the Minister of Health, still excludes a re-containment for the moment, while maintaining a "very important state of vigilance".

Des spectateurs et spectatrices masqués dans un opéra, à Barcelone, le 24 novembre 2020. © Quique Garcia / ARCHIVES EPA-EFE Masked spectators in an opera house, in Barcelona, ​​on November 24, 2020.

According to a new German study, museums, theaters, and cinemas represent a risk of contagion to the coronavirus much lower than that of other public places, however open, such as schools or supermarkets.

Should we let theaters and other places of culture close because of the coronavirus ? While calls to reopen multiply and more than seven in ten French people say they are in favor , a new study tends to show that the risk of contamination is not that high compared to other public places.

Professor Martin Kriegel, physician in immunobiology and director of the Hermann-Rietschel Institute in Berlin, and engineer Anne Hartmann conducted a study on the risks of contagiousness in various indoor public places .

The Covid-19 would have circulated in France from November 2019, according to French researchers

 The Covid-19 would have circulated in France from November 2019, according to French researchers © Copyright 2020, L'Obs Is the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic even more vague than it seems ? According to the work of French researchers relayed by "the World" and the Inserm site on Wednesday February 10, the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus was already circulating in France from November, weeks before the first official case, and before the outbreak of cases in Wuhan in China, considered the cradle of the pandemic.

"The R-value linked to the situation in cultural institutions - for example theaters, cinemas or museums - is lower than that of classrooms or offices, for example" , conclude the researchers whose published results on February 10 were relayed by several media such as Radio Classique or the Belgian public service of RTBF .

According to them, if physical distancing and wearing a mask are well respected, places of culture are even indoor places where the risk of contagion is the lowest.

Read also: Are cinemas and theaters really places at high risk of contamination with Covid-19?

A contagion rate multiplied by two in a supermarket, by six in a school

Thus, the virus circulation indicator (R) is only 0.5 in cultural places that respect sanitary rules. It is doubled in a supermarket or a restaurant, by three in an open space or a train and even by six in a school.

POINT OF VIEW. A new approach to reopen cultural venues

 POINT OF VIEW. A new approach to reopen cultural venues © OUEST FRANCE This year, the TransMusicales in Rennes have turned into a TV studio to broadcast concerts. Here, the Guadal Tejaz group ,. "We must in Brittany invent and experiment" a new protocol "and gradually reopen places of culture", according to Stéphane Roudaut, mayor of Gouesnou, regional councilor of Brittany, and president of Brest'Aim "It will be eleven months since the world of culture is almost at a standstill.

Nochmals. Die wissenschaftliche Evidenz zeigt: Schulen zu, Läden auf.

TU #Berlin Prof. Dr. Martin Kriegel,

einer der weltbesten Experten in Sachen #aerosole und Gebäudeklimatisierung pic.twitter.com/L24vIqCddm

- Isabel Villalon (@ IsabelVillalon1) February 15, 2021

How to explain such differences? This is mainly due to the fact that the public in cultural places is quite silent, and therefore does not emit an aerosol potentially laden with viruses, the scientists explain.

Which makes Professor Martin Kriegel say that with "well thought out and coherent hygiene concepts, some facilities could be reopened" , he told German newspaper the Spiegel .

But the study has an important limitation: it does not take into account variants of the coronavirus and the increased contagiousness of the virus they cause.

Not sure therefore that it will lead to changes in recommendations. Regarding France, the reopening of theaters and cinemas does not appear to be on the agenda. But the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot recalled on February 8, is "prepare for a reopening as quickly as possible" of museums and monuments.

The Sofia Opera, a rare European musical island in times of pandemic .
© Nikolay DOYCHINOV / AFP The Sofia Opera, a rare cultural institution in Europe to maintain its performances, has adapted to the pandemic. The orchestra has taken the place of the parterre, the public is confined to the balconies and the intermission eliminated: the Sofia Opera, a rare cultural institution in Europe to maintain its performances, has adapted to the pandemic.

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