Spring time is among us and it is the beginning of a great segway into America’s favorite passtime, baseball and in the words of Ultimate Fighting Championship cage announcer “It’s Time! We’ve had baseball season begin on April 1st, 2021 and it was no April fools because we finally got what we had all been looking for and that was fans in the seats.
Twenty-six of the thirty Major League Baseball teams were active on this day and every stadium had fans in the stadium to some capacity. The amount of fans in attendance was based on the percentage allowed by each state but it ranged from as low as 5000 fans at Nationals Park in Washington DC to over 40,000 which was full capacity at the new Globe Park Field hosted by the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas. The state of Texas,under the command of governor Greg Abbott, has lifted its mask mandate but the Rangers have made mask mandatory in order to enter the stadium which was a promising sign. The question still holds true for all stadiums across all sports and that question is Does having fans in stadiums raise the risk of a covid-19 spread.
Throughout most of 2020, fans were not permitted to attend any professional sports games. During part of the 2020-2021 NFL season teams began testing limited capacity. Toward the end of the season, 20 of the 32 teams (62.5 percent) had some sort of attendance at games and as many as 20,000 fans were reported in some stadiums.
In those 20 counties where teams were holding games, there were twice as many cases for covid-19 in the three weeks following a game being hosted. The cities that bordered and neighbored these sports cities had also seen a spike in covid-19 cases due to the large increase in crowds during those game weekends.
Based on information gathered by TheCoversation.com, a network of non-for-profit outlets made up of researchers and academics under a free creative commons license, these statistics were sent to the medical journal “The Lancet” which released its own findings on April 2nd, 2021. It was found that there was a correlation between fans being at games and rising covid rates in cities where NFL games had been played.
Seven days after the event did not see a major increase however the second and third weeks following the event saw drastic increases in covid cases so it can be concluded that the more fans at games the higher the chance of contracting the virus. But there is hope due to covid-19 vaccinations rolling out earlier this year.
According to an article written by Katie Adams and Maia Anderson of Becker’s Hospital Review, the United States has given out 70,692,645 full vaccinations which comes up to about 21.3 percent of our country’s current population. Beckers Hospital Review is a website that features up to date and accurate business news and analysis relating to hospitals and other health systems.
As a fan of sports and especially baseball I am looking forward to attending a live game but I am worried about the consequences of those actions. I am 30 years old and I have no idea when the vaccination would be available to me and my friends and family members so is it worth taking the risk in order to have a little fun. Many of the luxuries we are used to having in life are on the comeback but it all comes at a price and for many of us, we simply cannot afford to pay that price.