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CDC: Outbreaks linked to youth sports and extracurriculars

Youth and adult sports leagues were cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now,...
Youth and adult sports leagues were cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. But now, organizers are trying to figure out how to make the most out of the 2020 season.(Hawaii News Now/file)
Updated: Apr. 6, 2021 at 5:42 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The CDC is reporting many outbreaks in younger people are being linked to youth sports and extracurriculars. In a White House briefing Monday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Wolensky said those activities should be limited.

“We are learning that many outbreaks in young people are related to youth sports and extracurriculars, according to CDC guidance, these activities should be limited,” said Dr. Wolensky. “If they are not, the risk of clusters can be prevented with cadence testing strategies as are being rolled out in so many placed.”

As COVID restrictions are easing in Virginia, medical experts say keeping most sporting events and team meetings outdoors can make a difference.

“Maybe not having indoor practices, limiting the locker room stuff that happens, maybe people shower at home, there are things we can do to mitigate,” explained Jonathan Baktari, MD, CEO of e7health.com. “Move things outdoors, and decrease the size of crowds, no celebrations, no hugging, some of the things we sometimes see in athletics.”

Dr. Baktari says with Pfizer announcing its vaccine is effective in children 12-15, vaccines could be available to protect against the virus during the summer sports season and summer camps.

“They are looking to get approval by most accounts, May, so it may be by summer camp or summer sports, the Pfizer mRNA vaccine may be available for 12-16-year-olds,” he said.

In the Richmond area, Richmond Region Tourism has continued to hold youth sports events, working with national and local organizations to adhere to guidelines.

“We work with national clients that bring their events here, and we also work with local clients that host events that take place in the Richmond region,” explained JC Poma. “We’ve worked on things like scheduling games so there’s no overlap of games, working with the operators on the number of fans allowed in certain complexes.”

Poma says in 2020 when Virginia entered Phase 2, 55 events, including youth sports took place with no reported outbreaks, he credits taking health guidelines seriously. Poma says 19 events have already taken place this year, also with no reported outbreaks.

“These operators cannot host an event without having their health and safety plans approved by the jurisdictions and working with Richmond Region Tourism to make sure all of the guidelines have been met the Forward Virginia plans,” said Poma.

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