NewsStudy: Poor ventilation during cap session in Gangelt

Study: Poor ventilation during cap session in Gangelt

The first major corona outbreak in Germany occurred in the Heinsberg district at the beginning of 2020. A carnival session turned out to be a superspreader event. How did that happen?

Bonn – Ventilation played an important role in the spread of the corona virus at the so-called cap meeting in Gangelt on February 15, 2020. This emerges from a study by the Bonn virologist Hendrik Streeck and other scientists that has now been published as a preprint.

“The study clearly shows how important good ventilation with fresh air and filter systems are,” said Streeck of the German Press Agency. The researchers questioned 411 of the approximately 450 participants in the carnival session over a period of months. The meeting turned out to be a super-spreading event. Almost half of the participants – 46 percent – became infected with the virus. According to the findings, the ventilation played a major role in the distribution of the virus in the hall. It only supplied 30 percent fresh air to the hall, the windows of which were closed. As a result, the ventilation spread the virus, said Streeck. The risk of infection was correspondingly higher if you sat near the table where the air was sucked in or stood at the bar where the air was blown out again. On the other hand, the risk was lower on the opposite side of the room. Alcohol consumption has not been shown to be a risk factor. It had previously been speculated that participants who drank a lot of alcohol were more disinhibited and may have had more physical contact. According to the findings, gender also had no effect.

Risk lower for smokers

A reduction in the risk has been found in smokers – with the researchers emphasizing that smoking is undoubtedly harmful to health. The reason for the positive effect in this case may be that smokers went outside more often and thus inhaled fresh air. Anyone who left the hall during the break significantly reduced their risk in general. “Everything speaks again for the fact that aerosols and ventilation play a decisive role in whether there is an infection or not,” said Streeck, summarizing the results. Age was confirmed as a major risk factor. The following applies here: the older, the higher the risk. Children could become infected, but the likelihood is low, said Streeck. The age of the meeting participants ranged between 6 and 79 years. “Up to the age of 40, we see a risk increase of 28 percent per decade of life. All participants had the same exposure to the virus. ”From Gangelt, the virus had spread throughout the Heinsberg district in the following weeks. This led to the first major corona outbreak in Germany in the region on the Dutch border. dpa

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