Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Researchers in Germany staged a tightly controlled concert on Saturday to see whether there's a way to bring them back safely, even in a pandemic, per the AP.

The intrigue: Roughly 1,500 people filed into an arena in Leipzig — all after testing negative for coronavirus infections and while wearing masks — for the simulation.

  • Participants wore bracelets that tracked their movements throughout the arena — which even featured a real pop act, to get the most real-life crowd response possible — so that researchers could track the aerosols they emitted and the surfaces they touched.
  • Researchers tested three scenarios, all designed to mimic the beginning of a pandemic, with three levels of social distancing.
  • Results are expected within four to six weeks.

My thought bubble: Germany has recorded roughly 9,300 deaths and is averaging under 2,000 new cases per day. The U.S. is at roughly 170,000 deaths and just under 50,000 daily cases.

  • The fastest way to safely get back to doing fun things in the presence of other people is to get the virus under control.

Go deeper

11 hours ago - Health

Rep. Khanna: COVID-19 could change the perception of public health care

Rep. Khanna and Axios' Margaret Talev

The universal experience of COVID-19 could change how opponents view Medicare for All, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has reminded us of our shared humanity with other American citizens. It's no longer possible to think, 'Oh, we're not part of those who get sick.' Now almost everyone knows, unfortunately, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who had a serious bout with COVID," Khanna said.

17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

What might have been: Massive USPS coronavirus face mask operation called off

In April, the Postal Service "drafted a news release announcing plans to distribute 650 million masks nationwide, enough to offer five face coverings to every American household," the Washington Post reports, based on documents obtained by American Oversight, a watchdog group that requested them under FOIA.

  • What's happening: The idea originated at HHS, "which suggested a pack of five reusable masks be sent to every residential address in the country, with the first shipments going to the hardest-hit areas," per The Post.

Why it matters: Imagine if five months ago, Americans not only got a signal from their government that they should wear masks, but even had them handed to them. Incalculable loss — human and economic — could have been avoided.

Rep. Brooks: We need to better prepare for pandemics

Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.