Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Youth sports linked to recent pandemic surge

Recent coronavirus outbreaks, including some with the more-contagious B.1.1.7 variant, have been linked to youth sports and other extracurricular activities, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials.

"Officials say they believe transmission may be happening through athletic activities, rather than in the classroom, because some sports such as wrestling, basketball and volleyball involve close indoor contact. They have also wondered whether outbreaks may be triggered by related interactions such as carpooling, sleepovers and team celebrations, when people let their guard down, rather than from the practices and games themselves," Ariana Cha reports for The Washington Post. "The rise in infections in children has so far not resulted in a surge in pediatric hospitalizations. As in the past, most cases in children have been mild, health officials say, but they worry about vulnerable adults interacting with them, such as coaches, instructors, child-care providers or parents. Across the United States, a number of youth sports coaches have become seriously ill or died during the past few months as activities have opened up."

It's not a new phenomenon. The rural surge earlier in 2020 could be traced to youth sports and other extracurriculars, along with light state government restrictions and the reopening of in-person classes at colleges and schools, according to Andrew Pavia, head of infectious diseases at the University of Utah Hospital.

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