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Is it safe to attend football matches and other sporting events during a pandemic? A guide

By September 7, 2021December 4th, 2021Sports events

The factors that made pre-pandemic sporting events fun – horny people getting together, clapping, talking, eating, drinking and sometimes doing all of these things indoors – make gambling potentially problematic now. Ignoring the risks associated with these activities could leave us “stuck in epidemic mode,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN’s new day on September 7.

The coronavirus is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes and others breathe in these droplets, or when the virus accumulates or circulates in the air. Obtaining the virus from surfaces is also possible, but it is not a primary mode of transmission, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said. The level of safety or risk may depend in part on your vaccination status, as unvaccinated people remain unprotected against the coronavirus.

Due to the way the coronavirus can be spread, indoor events are higher risk than outdoor events – so it’s important to “make sure this is an outdoor type event,” said Krystal Pollitt, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health and professor chemical and environmental engineering assistant at the Yale School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
The CDC recommends that unvaccinated people avoid large gatherings with other people outside their home. Of course, the safest way to enjoy big game is to watch it on TV or online. But if you choose to be there in person, here’s what you need to know about planning and attending sporting events, regardless of your immunization status.

Preparing for an in-person sporting event

Before going to a sporting event, know the number of cases of Covid-19 both where you live and where the event takes place. “The higher the transmission of COVID-19 in the community, the higher the risk of transmission” during the event, the CDC said.
Call the venue or check its website to verify if the venue follows CDC guidelines for sport events Where large gatherings, or similar advice. Some of these safety measures include holding the event outdoors, requiring all participants to wear masks, regular cleaning, and blocked seats or visual cues for physical distancing, CDC said. A higher risk event would be if it takes place in an indoor space, most people, but not all, wear masks, and the event uses only a few strategies to reduce risk. Some sites may require participants to either provide proof of a negative coronavirus test taken a few days before the full vaccination.
Indoor events need to be well ventilated, said Dr Ada Stewart, a family doctor at Cooperative Health in Columbia, South Carolina, and president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, in April. Signs of a well ventilated room include the ability to run fans and open windows or doors. High ceilings and portable air purifiers with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are also helpful.
If knowledgeable employees are unsure of the quality of ventilation, other measures are particularly important – such as limiting the number of participants, requiring people from different households to stay at least 6 feet away from each other. other and ask that people constantly wear masks. The CDC recommended avoid large gatherings that do not have these precautions in place.
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If you want to be very ambitious about protecting yourself and assessing actual ventilation yourself, you can get an inexpensive carbon dioxide monitor to track concentration levels and changes over time, Pollitt said. Levels above 800 to 1,000 parts per million would be of concern, Pollitt added, because it would mean that the air is not circulating well enough.

What to do on match day

Pack hand sanitizer and more than enough masks. To reduce the risk of Delta variant infection, fully immunized people should wear masks in crowded indoor and outdoor public places in areas of high or high transmission, and if they or their roommates are immunocompromised or at higher risk. of severe Covid-19, The CDC recommended. Unvaccinated people should wear masks in these environments, regardless of the level of transmission of the coronavirus. CNN medical analyst Dr Leana Wen suggested wearing a surgical mask that is at least three ply.
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Venues should disinfect common areas and seats at least once a day or between each match, CDC advised, but bring disinfectant wipes to use if necessary.

Eat ahead “so that your chance of not having your mask (on) is limited,” Stewart said in April.

If you don’t eat ahead, there are two issues, said Wen, who is also emergency physician and visiting professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. “One is that people take off their masks to eat if they are near each other,” Wen said. “If everyone is well spaced and it’s outside, the risk is very low. But if they are close to each other and take off their masks to eat, near or inside, it increases the risk. “

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The other is “the people coming together,” Wen added. “Probably to get in (the game) you have to queue. This is something that is hard to avoid. But you can avoid the concession stands during peak times. So bring your own drinks if you can. . You I don’t necessarily want to have to go to a concession stand just to buy water if you need it. ”You can also bring your own snacks, but consider packing something that won’t take long to eat.

“Tailgating is another one of those centuries-old traditions,” but don’t be left behind by people outside your household, said Regina Davis Moss, associate executive director of health policy and practice at the American Public Health Association.

In all areas, not vaccinated, immunocompromised people and other vulnerable people should try to stay at least 6 feet from others as much as possible. To reduce your contact with frequently touched surfaces, opt for contactless payment when available.

If you have to use the restroom or buy food, try going during the less busy times rather than half time or downtime.

And look for other ways to reduce risk when shopping for food, Davis Moss said. When getting mustard for your hot dog, for example, be sure to use a hand sanitizer before and after because condiments “are surfaces that a lot of people are going to touch.” Condiment packs are safer.

Not yelling about a score or a bad game can be difficult, but the louder your voice, the more likely you are to produce virus-carrying droplets or aerosols if infected, even if you wear a mask. Try to keep your voice at maximum normal volume, Pollitt said.

Finally, you can leave a little before the end of the game to avoid the crowds when navigating the parking lot or in transport.