The rave party organized in Lozère, in the heart of the Cévennes national park since Sunday, August 9, worries the prefecture. - AFP

  • This Sunday, more than 10,000 people went to an agricultural field in Lozère, where a rave party was held.
  • While the local prefecture was moved by the risk of creating clusters, the risks of contamination outside by aerosol are almost zero, unlike gatherings in closed places, recalls the public health doctor Martin Blachier, interviewed by 20 Minutes
  • Like colleagues, the epidemiologist therefore invites us to put into perspective the dangerousness of such events, which are ultimately safer than evenings in bars or interiors. On the other hand, contaminations by postilions between people in the vicinity cannot be excluded. 

During the Covid-19 period, the event goes even less unnoticed. Saturday night in Lozère, a rave party took place on a field located in the town of Hures-la-Parade, attracting more than 10,000 people. While demonstrations by more than 5,000 individuals remain banned in France to prevent the spread of the pandemic, the authorities have not hidden their concern on this subject.

"To endanger a territory that was particularly protected during the epidemic like that, to come as many from everywhere to risk creating a cluster [focus of transmission] is completely irresponsible", declared on TF1the prefect of Lozère, Valérie Hatsch. Covid screening centers were set up on site to be operational on Tuesday, to limit the risks. Masks were also distributed.

Rave parties, better than bars

Is right ? While the summer period is conducive to festive events, the same fears are expressed regularly. Organized outdoors, on an agricultural field, rave parties are outdoor gatherings. In such a context, the risks of mass contamination, likely to create epidemic centers, are low.

“Outdoors, the viral load never peaks. Outside, the air is renewed ad infinitum, ”  Martin Blachier, public health doctor , told 20 Minutes . For him, the organization of raves would even be much preferable to other types of gatherings. "The rave party is better than a party in a basement bar or in a private house on the beach," he even insists, believing that the position of local authorities is mainly a matter of a precautionary principle taken to the extreme, in the absence of scientific competence. "It's the only thing the prefects can do," he said.

Possible transmission by postilions

If the WHO recently recognized the transmission of the virus by aerosols cannot be ruled out, it is not in the open air that this mode of transmission is dangerous. "There is no question of being afraid of transmission by the wind, in the air, in the streets, etc.", explained at the beginning of July at  20 Minutes the head of the infectious and tropical diseases department at the Toulouse University Hospital, Pierre Delobel.

On the other hand, participation in a rave party does not in absolute terms escape the first mode of transmission of the coronavirus, via the sputum and droplets of saliva expelled by an infected person nearby, when they cough or sneeze, but also when she sings or speaks. Especially since these festivities are not conducive to social distancing. “When […] one of our postilions falls into a neighbor's glass, contamination is possible. And the probability of receiving a contaminating postilion increases with the time of presence. The longer you stay alongside a virus transmitter, the more chances you have of catching it, ”also explained Jean-François Doussin, lecturer at the University of Paris-Est Créteil.

Contact transmissions?

"Singing and playing sports makes us spit further", recognizes Martin Blachier. But still, according to the doctor, it is necessary to talk to each other long enough and be very close to each other for contamination to take place.

As for transmissions by contact, "more and more experts say that it is non-existent, even minimal," he believes, not very worried. “The fact that people are in rustic conditions, using the same toilets for example, should not play,” continues the epidemiologist, who is also unfavorable to wearing a mask outdoors. According to him, a counterproductive measure: it does not encourage people to spend their time outdoors, where the risks of the virus spreading are lower. What to encourage gatherings in closed places.

The ARS worried despite everything

The epidemiologist is skeptical about the dangerousness of rave parties, in the absence of precedents and more generally, of external clusters. Following the Fête de la Musique in Paris, no outbreak has been identified to date, even if this does not completely exclude the possibility of contamination between individuals.

As for the rave party which brought together 2,000 people last July in Cazaux (Gironde), it did not give rise to any particular alert, confirms to 20 minutes the regional health agency of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. “This does not mean, however, that we can validate the appropriateness of these events with regard to the risks involved,” specifies the regional ARS, still concerned about the circulation of the virus among young people.


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