The Apolo Theater, a 77-year-old concert venue in Barcelona, Spain, opened its doors Saturday to people so desperate for live music they were willing to become medical experiments. As reported by the Associated Press, 1,000 people volunteered for an antigen screening before 500 were randomly selected. The plan is to see how effective same-day tests are at preventing the spread of coronavirus.
The antigen tests used are “not as accurate as other types of tests” but provide results in 15 minutes, as opposed to hours or even days. This study could lead to wider use of near-immediate testing for future concerts and other activities where groups closely assemble indoors. (Concert promoter and club owner Peter Shapiro has been envisioning such a scenario since May.)
Virologist Dr. Boris Revollo explained that this was a scientific study, but admitted that young people were already “holding their own clandestine parties because they have no other outlet.” The 500 revelers were allowed into the club for five hours of music from a variety of DJs and bands, and told to use hand sanitizer stations and keep their masks on. (They were allowed to remove them at the upstairs bar, where a drink ticket got them one free libation.)
All who entered (plus the 500 who applied but were not randomly selected) took a more strenuous COVID test, which won’t bring results for days. Additionally, they will return next week for a second such test. From there, numbers will be crunched to determine if an asymptomatic person with the virus got past the initial quick screening, and also to determine if there was any spread. Of course, someone taking the second test could have picked up the virus five minutes after leaving the show, which is part of why containing this thing has proven so difficult.
The AP’s report says Spain has lost 47,600 citizens to the coronavirus.
International acts that have performed at the Apolo in recent years include Interpol, Coldplay, The Killers, Tindersticks, Rufus Wainwright, Iron & Wine, Sleep, The Killers, and Steve Van Zandt.
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