New study shows fans at NFL and college football games did not lead to COVID-19 spread

by Peter Heck · Feb 22nd, 2021 8:25 am
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Last Updated Feb 23rd, 2021 at 12:53 am

A team of four health researchers publishing at medRxiv released initial results from an empirical analysis of the effect fan attendance at NFL and college football games had on the spread of COVID-19 this year.

The study is in its initial reporting phase and has yet to be peer reviewed.

However, preprint analysis published by the team found that limited fan attendance in football stadiums does "not cause a significant increase in local COVID-19 cases."

"This time-series, cross-sectional matching study with a difference-in-differences design did not find an increase in COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the counties where NFL and NCAA games were held with in-person attendance," the authors wrote. "Our study suggests that NFL and NCAA football games hosted with limited in-person attendance do not cause a significant increase in local COVID-19 cases."

Multiple sports journalists were predicting last summer that there would be no college or professional football seasons due to the risk of coronavirus spread, much less having fans in attendance.

🔦 The findings come as spring approaches and opening day of the upcoming Major League Baseball season nears.


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