After 1000 High School Football Games, No Big COVID Outbreaks
More than 1,000 high school football games have been played over the past month across multiple states.
Utah, for example, launched youth sports more than five weeks ago. Alabama, Indiana and Tennessee commenced with high school football roughly four weeks ago. Alaska has been allowing games for more than two weeks.
Many have been wondering whether these events would ultimately lead to an increase in COVID-19 cases being spread within communities.
Despite more than a thousand individual games having taken place, no significant recorded outbreaks of COVID-19 have occurred as a result.
For example, here is what the COVID-19 trend for Utah looks like (pay attention to the right side of the chart, August through today):
The daily cases are decreasing. The same is true for Alabama:
Identical patterns also hold true for Tennessee and Alaska.
Although high school football games have been frequent and ongoing, no major recorded COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred as a result of them.
This news comes at a particularly interesting time for the sport, given that the NFL season is set to commence this week and college football is divided on whether games should be played at all.
Dak has never opened up like this before. https://t.co/twYShdqVmY
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 9, 2020
In college football, especially, conferences have been pitted against one another for weeks arguing the merits and pitfalls of playing this Fall.
As a result, the SEC, ACC and Big 12 have decided to move forward, while the Big Ten and Pac-12 have opted to hold off.
While nobody much cares about what the Pac-12 does or doesn’t do given the conference’s growing irrelevance over the past five years, the Big Ten’s pronouncement sparked a lot of controversy.
We all know what’s been going on with the NBA’s ratings. Now we know why. https://t.co/M9uOeWOpqN
— Game 7 (@game7__) September 8, 2020
This week, a group of 10 lawmakers from Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin wrote a letter to the Big Ten urging decision-makers to reconsider.
“Recent actions taken by other conferences across the country to start football and other fall sports have placed the Big Ten, its members and students at a disadvantage,” the letter reads.
“These athletes are losing a vital part of student life and are becoming less marketable to future employers with each passing week. Additionally, our local universities stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars that support vital student scholarships.”
President Donald Trump has also weighed in on the matter, urging the Big Ten to move forward with Fall athletics.
“Big Ten Football is looking really good, but may lose Michigan, Illinois, and Maryland because of those Governors’ ridiculous lack of interest or political support,” he tweeted. “They will play without them?”
Big Ten Football is looking really good, but may lose Michigan, Illinois, and Maryland because of those Governors’ ridiculous lack of interest or political support. They will play without them?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2020
With every passing week, additional data points come in on what does and does not spread COVID-19. This most recent information from states that permitted high school football should be factored in along with any other relevant materials when it comes to the Big Ten, college football as a whole, and any other sport that is unsure of whether to proceed with their season.
COVID-19 is here and will continue to be in the news for a considerable amount of time. Being safe is important, but so is living life and trying to develop some semblance of normalcy.
Will a middle ground ultimately be reached? Time will tell.