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February 3, 2021

How sport increased Covid mortalities

By Paul Dennis

3 February

Experts believe that professional sport has experienced severe shocks like other sectors from the global coronavirus pandemic, thereby leading to natural experiments.

These experiments or studies addressed pertinent questions such as how airborne viruses can spread in crowds, how crowds should respond to risks and new viruses, how the lack of crowds will impact social pressure and decisions, and how quickly betting markets will respond to new information.

The first study on Covid-19 spread during major sports events focused on North America.

Researchers studied the effects of scheduling of NBA and NHL games during a 12-day period in early March 2020.

The study evaluated the effects, spread and mortality related to the disease in the context of holding indoor, mass sports gatherings.

The authors found that each of these gatherings, on an average, increased the number of cumulative deaths directly from the Covid-19 disease by 9% till the end of April 2020.

Another study looked at the impact of the English football matches that took place with crowds during the start of the pandemic.

Authors concluded that despite of these games taking place outdoors, rather than the US indoor games study, the presence of large crowds during the matches led to an increase in the virus spread.

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