Are Concerts Safe to Attend with the Delta Variant Surge?
Medically reviewed by: Baptist Health
As the highly contagious Delta variants (Delta and Delta Plus) continue to infect people in the U.S. and around the world, many are wondering whether it’s safe to attend concerts and other large events. The safe, effective, and readily available COVID-19 vaccines help protect people, but concerts, which typically have densely packed crowds, create a high risk of encountering people who are infected with the virus.
This article provides helpful information you can use as you make your decision about whether or not to attend a large event.
Is It Safe to Go to an Indoor Concert Now?
Indoor concerts have certain characteristics that increase the risk of contracting COVID-19. First, there’s a large group of people. Second, there’s relatively little air circulation in an indoor venue. And third, if attendees are singing or shouting to hear one another or cheer on the performers, those activities can put out a large number of virus-infected droplets that can be inhaled by others.
Consequently, many infectious disease experts are saying that with the growing number of Delta-variant cases, they’d be hesitant to indicate that it’s safe to go to a concert. Of course, the more precautions that are in place for an event — the requirement that attendees provide proof of vaccination or recent negative test, temperature checks, mask requirements, etc. — the lower the risk of contracting COVID-19 and of the concert becoming a “superspreader” event.
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Is It Safe to Go to an Outdoor Concert Now?
Outdoor concerts have some advantages over indoor concerts. For one thing, there’s significantly more air movement, which helps airborne disease particles dissipate. Also, there may be more of an opportunity for people to spread out and create physical distance from one another.
Still, being around crowds increases the risk of contracting COVID-19. Even if you view the concert from a spot where there’s some separation from other attendees, you’re likely to be close to others as you wait to enter the concert site, are in line for the restroom, and so forth.
Bottom line: If you have the choice between an indoor or outdoor concert, it’s safest to choose the outdoor event.
Are Proof of Vaccination or Negative Test Results Effective Safety Measures?
Requiring concert attendees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test helps make concerts safer. However, they only lower the risk to a degree, and consequently aren’t foolproof.
It’s important to be aware that so-called “breakthrough COVID” cases (where a fully vaccinated person contracts the illness, though often with mild or no symptoms) are rising and that someone who has a breakthrough case is just as contagious as an unvaccinated person.
Also, the negative test requirement makes people get tested, and some may find they’re positive and stay home, which is good. But there’s a period where a person has been exposed to COVID-19 but the virus can’t be detected in them yet. In that scenario, they’re still able to pass the virus to others.
Regardless of what precautions are in place, if you attend a large event, you should be especially vigilant for the next few weeks when it comes to monitoring yourself for symptoms. And if you have someone in your household who’s immunocompromised or unvaccinated, it’s best if you can quarantine for 14 days following the event.
Don’t take a chance with your health.
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to prevent COVID-19 infection and end the pandemic. The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19, but it can help protect you from serious illness. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and make a vaccination appointment at a location near you.
Weigh the Risks and Benefits, and Maximize Your Protection
As the information above shows, there’s no clear-cut answer about whether it’s safe to attend concerts or other events with COVID-19 still circulating and infections from Delta variants rising. You’ll have to weigh the risks and benefits of attending.
If you choose to attend an event, one thing’s clear: You do yourself and other attendees a favor by being vaccinated before you go, maintaining as much physical distance as possible from other attendees, and wearing a mask.
If you have a large event on your calendar and haven’t been vaccinated, you should make an appointment today. It’s free, safe, and easy to get vaccinated, and doing so decreases your risk of becoming seriously ill.
Next Steps and Useful Resources:
Schedule Your COVID-19 Vaccine
Get Tested for COVID-19
COVID-19 Variants Explained
[PODCAST] Vaccine Hesitancy Explained