COVID-19 risk-mitigation in reopening mass cultural events: population-based observational study for the UK Events Research Programme in Liverpool City Region

Burnside, Girvan ORCID: 0000-0001-7398-1346, Cheyne, Christopher P, Leeming, Gary ORCID: 0000-0002-5554-5302, Humann, Michael ORCID: 0000-0003-3788-6653, Darby, Alistair ORCID: 0000-0002-3786-6209, Green, Mark A ORCID: 0000-0002-0942-6628, Crozier, Alexander, Maskell, Simon ORCID: 0000-0003-1917-2913, O'Halloran, Kay ORCID: 0000-0002-7950-0889, Musi, Elena ORCID: 0000-0003-2431-455X
et al (show 23 more authors) (2023) COVID-19 risk-mitigation in reopening mass cultural events: population-based observational study for the UK Events Research Programme in Liverpool City Region. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 117 (1). pp. 11-23.

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<h4>Objectives</h4>To understand severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission risks, perceived risks and the feasibility of risk mitigations from experimental mass cultural events before coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) restrictions were lifted.<h4>Design</h4>Prospective, population-wide observational study.<h4>Setting</h4>Four events (two nightclubs, an outdoor music festival and a business conference) open to Liverpool City Region UK residents, requiring a negative lateral flow test (LFT) within the 36 h before the event, but not requiring social distancing or face-coverings.<h4>Participants</h4>A total of 12,256 individuals attending one or more events between 28 April and 2 May 2021.<h4>Main outcome measures</h4>SARS-CoV-2 infections detected using audience self-swabbed (5-7 days post-event) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, with viral genomic analysis of cases, plus linked National Health Service COVID-19 testing data. Audience experiences were gathered via questionnaires, focus groups and social media. Indoor CO<sub>2</sub> concentrations were monitored.<h4>Results</h4>A total of 12 PCR-positive cases (likely 4 index, 8 primary or secondary), 10 from the nightclubs. Two further cases had positive LFTs but no PCR. A total of 11,896 (97.1%) participants with scanned tickets were matched to a negative pre-event LFT: 4972 (40.6%) returned a PCR within a week. CO<sub>2</sub> concentrations showed areas for improving ventilation at the nightclubs. Population infection rates were low, yet with a concurrent outbreak of >50 linked cases around a local swimming pool without equivalent risk mitigations. Audience anxiety was low and enjoyment high.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We observed minor SARS-CoV-2 transmission and low perceived risks around events when prevalence was low and risk mitigations prominent. Partnership between audiences, event organisers and public health services, supported by information systems with real-time linked data, can improve health security for mass cultural events.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: COVID-19, mass gatherings, cultural events, SARS-CoV-2 transmission, respiratory virus risk mitigation
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Population Health
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 03 May 2023 07:59
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2024 06:17
DOI: 10.1177/01410768231182389
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