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Spectators attend a rock music concert by Spanish group Love of Lesbian at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, with face masks required but no social distancing needed. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images

5,000 masked music fans packed into the Palau Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona, Spain, Saturday for a rock concert with no social distancing, as part of a study into the effectiveness of same-day COVID screenings.

Why it matters: Organizers say Spanish rock group Love of Lesbian's concert is the "first commercial event of this size held in Europe during the pandemic," AP notes. The event is an exception to Spain's four-person limits on gatherings in enclosed spaces, per Euronews.

Health workers collect swab samples for Rapid Antigen Test for COVID-19 ahead of the concert. "People with heart disease, cancer, or those who have been in contact with someone infected by COVID-19 in recent weeks were asked not to sign up," AP reports. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images
The scene before the concert's start. A smaller study was held in Barcelona last December, with 500 people attending the concert. Preliminary results indicate the combination of wearing masks and pre-screening with antigen tests works in preventing the virus spread despite the absence of distancing rules, per Euronews. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images
Spectators soak in the atmosphere. "After two months of a downward trend," from the third wave of the pandemic, case numbers have risen again this past week, El País reports. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images
Santi Balmes of Love of Lesbian addresses the audience during the concert. Photo: Xavi Torrent/Getty Images

Go deeper

In photos: Deadly tornadoes leave path of destruction across the South

The aftermath of the tornadoes in Ohatchee, Alabama. Photo: Julie Bennett via Getty Images

A major outbreak of high-end, "violent" tornadoes and severe storms ripped through the South on Thursday, leaving behind debris and destruction.

The big picture: At least six people were killed. Severe weather in this region can be especially deadly due to the housing types that are prevalent here, including large numbers of mobile homes, Axios' Andrew Freedman writes.

Starbucks drops worker vaccine mandate after SCOTUS ruling

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Starbucks announced in a memo to employees Tuesday that it has dropped plans to implement a vaccine mandate for all U.S. workers, AP reported on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The company's decision comes in response to the Supreme Court's ruling last week to block the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

1 hour ago - Health

Omicron hits American hospitals disproportionately hard

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

America is seeing more COVID hospitalizations than other wealthy countries during the Omicron surge, according to Our World in Data.

Why it matters: Vaccines keep the vast majority of COVID cases out of the hospital, but vaccination rates are also lower in the U.S. than these other countries.