Introduction: Mass gatherings such as sports events are potential causes for the rapid spread of COVID-19 infection. Millions of soccer fans travel across Europe every week. With the world’s most popular leagues continuing play until the second week of March 2020, we hypothesize that a correlation exists between the number of people attending the soccer league games in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and the UK and the increasing number of cases of COVID-19 in these countries during the ongoing epidemic.
Methods: We have calculated the total number of attendees in the five major soccer leagues from the popular sports websites and the official pages of the league. The total number of COVID- 19 cases were taken from the Worldometer websites.
Results: The average attendees in the last game week of five major soccer leagues during the second week of March 2020 ranged from 189,545 to 511,524. The total number of COVID-19 cases was 350,000.
Conclusion: Mass movement of spectators among different cities in the European countries to attend major soccer league matches can be one of the reasons for sudden increase in the COVID- 19 cases. Before resuming these games, proper planning, surveillance, communication, and necessary modifications are required to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The author(s) received no specific funding for this work
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Karki, Bibodh J.; Ambadapoodi, Raghava S.; Imran, Zahid; and Ramirez, Julio A.
"COVID-19 Spread in Europe: The Soccer Connection,"
The University of Louisville Journal of Respiratory Infections: Vol. 4
, Article 46.
Available at: https://ir.library.louisville.edu/jri/vol4/iss1/46