From The Asian Reporter, V31, #5 (May 3, 2021), page 17.
Is it safe to go to big sporting events during
By Carla K. Johnson
The Associated Press
Is it safe to go to big sporting events during the pandemic?
Not yet, but there are ways to make it safer if you go.
"Yelling, chanting, hugging, and generally pouring out our
sports enthusiasm is still not the safest activity," noted
Jennifer Dowd, associate professor of population health at the
University of Oxford and chief scientific officer of Dear
Pandemic, a website that offers expert opinions.
If you do decide to go to a game, outdoor stadiums are safer
than indoor arenas, which wonít be as well ventilated. Venues
that limit attendance and require masks are safer as well. Some
teams are requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for
Once at the stadium, avoid indoor bars, restaurants, and box
seating, Dowd said. "Spaces that are indoors with lots of people
eating and drinking without masks are still among the riskiest,"
Going to a game is much safer if youíre fully vaccinated,
notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But
the agency advises wearing masks at crowded sports events
regardless of whether youíve had your shots.
Evidence on the safety of big games is mixed. The NFL says it
safely hosted 1.2 million fans at 119 games during the 2020
season. Some studies that havenít yet been vetted by outside
experts have reached differing conclusions about whether the
football season led to more infections. The study findings canít
be certain, since they were based on disease rates in counties,
not on contact tracing investigations.
Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor
College of Medicine in Houston, said enough Americans will
likely be fully vaccinated by June or July to see significant
declines in transmission of the virus.
"The risk wonít go to zero," Hotez said, but it will drop
enough that sporting events, restaurants, and larger gatherings
may be much safer.
The CDC offers additional guidance to help sports fans make
decisions as the pandemic continues, such as checking with event
organizers about what safety measures are being taken. An
important reminder: If you have symptoms, are waiting for a
virus test result, or have been exposed to someone whoís
infected, you should stay home, the CDC says.