In DepthCOVID-19

Dutch studies bring back the fun—but are they good science?

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Science  30 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6541, pp. 447
DOI: 10.1126/science.372.6541.447


A series of 20 experiments in the Netherlands aimed at finding out whether concerts, dance parties, and other events can be held safely in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic has come under fire. Attendees at the gatherings—organized by the event industry in collaboration with scientists and the Dutch government, under the name Fieldlab—have to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours before the end of the show, and take other measures to help reduce the infection risk as well. But public opposition to the events has grown as COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands surged. And last week, more than 350 researchers criticized the studies in an open letter that complained of a lack of peer review and transparency as well as ethical failings.

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