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Spanish festival study reveals Covid surge

A study of music festivals in Spain this summer has identified higher-than-expected transmission rates of Covid-19.

The Catalan health department looked at data from the Vida, Canet Rock and Cruïlla events and found much higher transmission rates than expected.

The research found that 2,279 attendees among the 50,000 who attended the three festivals contracted the virus. Officials said this figure is 76% more than the cases recorded in a control group and 58% more than what was expected.

The study found that 466 attendees of Vida, 956 of Carnet Rock and 857 of Cruïlla tested positive for the virus in the two weeks following the concerts. In a control group, the number of cases detected on the same dates of the events was 197, 525 and 571, respectively.

The study expected that a maximum of 1,437 infections would be recorded after the music festivals, but this was exceeded by 842, bringing the total number of cases to 2,279.

Carme Cabezas, the Catalan Secretary of Public Health, admitted that music events “have had an effect” on transmission. But she added: “With 842 more cases than what was expected, we can’t say they have been superspreader events.”

Festival-goers at the three events were required to present a negative Covid-19 test and wear a face mask at all times. However, with positive tests rapidly growing in the region in July, Catalan health chief Josep Maria Argimon said some weeks ago that they should not have been allowed to go ahead.

“I have been self-critical. We don’t know if these events have been superspreaders or not yet, but they did convey an idea of normality that was not what we had to convey at that moment,” he told El Pais before the results of the study were released.

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