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CDC Issues Warning About Superspreader Events 

Playing sports indoors can lead to mass infections, the agency warns.

Since the start of the pandemic, health experts have been concerned about the potential for COVID-19 amongst athletic team members. Despite the worry, many sports have opted to continue, at both the scholastic and professional level — even without masks. On Thursday, the Centers for Disease and Prevention revealed in their weekly report that playing sports can be incredibly risky and even have the potential to become a super spreader event. Read on, and don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.

What is the Superspreader Event?

The report details what transpired from a recreational indoor ice hockey game that occurred over the spring in Florida. According to Florida health department officials, one hockey player, the index player, was infected with the virus when he played on June 16 in Tampa. The following day he started experiencing symptoms — including fever, cough, sore throat and a headache. Two days later, the virus was confirmed via a test. 

There were 22 players on the ice total — 11 per team between the ages of 19 and 53 — with teammates sharing locker rooms for 20 minutes before and after the 60 minute game. None of them wore cloth masks at any time. 

"During the five days after the game, 15 persons experienced signs and symptoms compatible with coronavirus disease 2019; 13 of the 15 ill persons had positive laboratory test results indicating infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19," researchers write. All but two of the sick individuals were tested.  62% of all the players experienced symptoms. However, neither the referees or the single spectator got sick. 

RELATED: 11 Symptoms of COVID You Never Want to Get

An Ice Rink is a Fertile Environment

Researchers did point out that due to the environment, an ice rink in particular is the perfect place for COVID to spread. 

"The ice rink provides a venue that is likely well suited to COVID-19 transmission as an indoor environment where deep breathing occurs, and persons are in close proximity to one another," the researchers added.

"The indoor space and close contact between players during a hockey game increase infection risk for players and create potential for a superspreader event, especially with ongoing community COVID-19 transmission," the study concluded.

The CDC also produced an infographic inspired by the event, warning of this type of transmission. "Close contact and intense physical activity can contribute to spread of COVID-19 during an indoor sporting event," it warns. So make the smart choice, and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah