A new study has found that a German event at a town hall in Gangelt, which was dubbed as a ‘super-spreader’ event during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, was a source for a sizeable outbreak because of its poor ventilation. 

A carnival celebration that ended in half of its 411 partygoers testing positive for the virus, saw the first person in Germany being admitted to intensive care with coronavirus. He was a 47-year-old male ballet dancer that was appearing in the performance. 

Researchers from the University of Bonn have found that the poor ventilation at the Gangelt town hall only brought in 25% of fresh air to the air flow at the event. This was a key factor in spreading the virus among the crowd. 

The paper, which has not yet been peer reviewed, said that people who were sat closest to air outlets were at the highest risk of being infected at the show. 

One of the authors of the scientific paper, virologist Hendrink Streeck said: “Once again everything points towards aerosols and ventilation playing a crucial role in deciding whether there will be an infection or not.”

The study also found that older individuals were more likely to have caught the virus at the event than children. For every 10 years of age difference, the infection risk was reported to have increased by 28%. 

The paper claimed however that there was “no evidence for increased risk of infection from greater proximity to other infected persons”.

Research also reportedly found that there was no proof that partygoers who shared drinks, and were inebriated, led to the carnival show being a ‘super-spreader’ event. 

Image: Xuan Nguyen on Unsplash