Berlin’s  Charité denounces false hopes of full halls

Berlin’s Charité denounces false hopes of full halls


norman lebrecht

August 18, 2020

The scientific institute, which has permitted reduced distances within orchestras, is appalled at media reports that it forsees concerts taking places with full halls.

The scientists say this is a total misrepresentation of their studies.

Charité Board of Directors distances itself from recommendations on full concert halls

The Berlin Charité management has distanced itself from a recommendation by two of its institutes, according to which a operations with full audience in concert halls and opera houses is declared feasible.
The Charité Board of Directors stated on Twitter that the paper on the resumption of opera and concert operations under corona conditions had not been agreed internally and did not reflect the position of the board. The draft does not take into account the current dynamics of the infection process and the associated risks. The paper should therefore not be regarded as a proposal for action, but as the basis for further critical discussion within the framework of the Berlin test strategy.
Obligation to wear masks throughout, ventilation and no catering
The recommendations of the Institute for Social Medicine and Epidemiology and for Hygiene and Environmental Medicine state that full public access is possible if, for example, masks are worn the whole time. In foyers, at the box office, cloakrooms and in sanitary areas, the rules of social distancing should be observed, the recommendations state. The direction of audience flow should be ensured by routing specific paths. At classical music events, no conversations are held during the concerts anyway, and flows of movement and crowds are generally easy to control. In case of symptoms of a possible infection, prospective audience members should refrain from visiting. Contact details should also be provided. Admission and ticket controls should be contactless. Adequate ventilation must be ensured, and the sale of food and beverages must be avoided.
Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer is surprised
In an interview with the rbb Abendschau, Senator for Culture Klaus Lederer was also surprised by the statement: “None of the experts has ever argued that full concert halls with a few hygiene measures are unproblematic. In this respect, we are surprised by this recommendation from the Charité, which we learned about through press inquiries. We are particularly surprised that their co-authors include experts with whom we have already worked,” said Lederer.
German Music Council: Too good to be true
Christian Höppner, Secretary General of the German Music Council, announced on the Council’s website the paper by the Charité Institutes: The report about a voice of hope was at the same time very surprising. The statement on the public operation seems “too good to be true – and, when viewed rationally, raises a number of questions,” it continues.




  • Alexander Hall says:

    On Sunday I watched on one of the German TV channels the recording made the previous evening of Herbert Blomstedt conducting the Lucerne Festival Orchestra (albeit in a slimmed-down version) in the Lucerne hall. The entire audience was wearing masks. And it was completely packed. They couldn’t all have been members of similar social bubbles. Now if the Swiss can do that, why is it so difficult to imagine the same thing happening elsewhere? I don’t for one moment expect the number of coronavirus infections in Lucerne to shoot up in the next few days.

    • rugbyfiddler says:

      The simple response is wait and see – it might JUST be that the audience was from a sufficiently wide geographical area as not to cause an enormous spike in one place. Let’s just wait and see what Switzerland’s figures do!

    • John Borstlap says:

      It depends upon the ventilation system. If it is corona proof, i.e. taking-out the inside air and bringing-in air from outside, and the audience wears masks, both macro droplets and micro droplets hardly get a chance to infect people – in case someone happens to carry the virus.

      Macro droplets can only infect someone from very close; micro droplets can float in the air of a closed space for hours.

      • Doc Martin says:

        It is not droplets which infect you it is the Sars-cov-2 virus, carried in droplets. Asymptomatic transmission is a major problem, a BMJ paper suggests 2m is not far enough, 5m+ in hospital wards!

  • Doc Martin says:

    A paper in BMJ suggests 2m is not far enough, hospital aerosol transmission is up to 5m and over. Yes wear a mask indoors, an n95 if possible. I have not been to a concert for ages. Last time was to see an obscure baroque opera at Brighton Early Music festival, just before the lockdown! Would not risk it at all.

    • John Chunch says:

      What is the long term plan here, permanent virus avoidance? Crushing the curve? In your view, what circumstances will mean it is now safe to do concerts? All orchestras were working in March (the virus has been circulating in most places since at least January). Didn’t seem to have dire consequences or lead to “super spreader” events. Should we also not do concerts during flu season? The IFR of Covid-19 is 2-3 times higher than the seasonal flu – bad but not the kind of thing we should end cultural life for years for.