University College London (UCL) has concluded a major study using laser technology to measure the impact of face coverings in helping to mitigate risks of Covid.
The study found that the wearing of masks can cut the spread of aerosol droplets by 99%, while finding that those droplets transmitted also travel much slower than expected.
"Andrew Lloyd Webber is right”, says Professor of Biophotonics at UCL, Laurence Lovat. “If theatre-goers wear appropriate masks and follow other rules already in place, theatres become safe places to go to.
"Across all the tests: singing, breathing and speaking, these results show face masks provide significant and robust levels of safety against Covid-19 transmission."
Andrew Lloyd Webber has made statements that venues are incredibly safe when audiences are wearing masks and a large portion are vaccinated, following the research conducted at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, during the pilot events programme in May 2021.
The programme apparently found only four positive test results from thousands of attendees during a fortnight of live events, with spectators often at higher capacities than those currently permitted. However, it is not stated if these positive tests were found before the live shows or afterwards.
Lovat explains: "We developed a unique methodology for understanding the spatiotemporal movement of droplets. Appropriate face coverings really rapidly reduce it.
"With our technology, we were able to build the engineering rig and androids ourselves. That allows us to expand up to test what really happens in theatres and big public spaces.
"We place the engineering rig inside the android to replicate a real head. We can change the frequency to make it speak and produce different types of droplets. There is a huge variation."
The next step in the government's roadmap to reopening is set for 21 June, with a statement from the Prime Minister set to confirm further plans or delays on Monday 14th June.