During the two-week study, 80 per cent used the gym at least once, while 38 per cent went more than six times. While using the gym, people had to wash their hands regularly and maintain social distancing – 1 metre for floor exercise, 2 metres for high-intensity classes. Lockers were available for use, but saunas were not. All participants, as well as gym staff, then took an antibody test on June 8.
The results showed that of the 3764 individuals monitored, only one person caught COVID-19. This individual was part of the group that had not attended the gym, with the cause of infection traced to his workplace. In Oslo over the study period, 207 new cases were reported. There was also no difference in the rates at which those studied went to hospital. Those who did visit hospital did so for issues not related to COVID-19.
Dr Gordon Guyatt, a professor of medicine at McMaster University in Canada, told The New York Times: “This shows us that low-prevalence environments are safe for gyms and probably just about everything else. It is very unlikely you will get infected.”
However, experts have questioned whether these results would translate to areas where infection rates are much higher. Dr Jon Zelner, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan, said a study with people in areas of higher prevalence was needed to determine the safety of the gyms.