Return of professional football renews fears over more virus spread

While Major League Baseball and the NBA have played without fans, the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs were allowed to open the season Thursday night against the Houston Texans at 22% capacity.

Chris Moore, an IT specialist for T-Mobile in Shawnee, Kansas, acknowledged the fears of the virus but felt it was the right thing to do to come out and support the team at a stadium where he has held season tickets for more than 30 years.

Pennsylvania lawmakers have been sparring this week with the Democratic governor over coronavirus legislation that would give individual districts and private schools sole authority to decide how to conduct football and other sports.

For fans, watching football on TV can be done safely and is a welcome way “to go back to normal things in our lives that we love and enjoy,” said Ali Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle.

For players, coaches and fans who venture into stadiums, a safe season hinges on what else people are willing to give up to lower the case numbers and control the level of community spread that could breed problems.

Athletic Director Jeremy Lewis got a firsthand look at the health risks associated with football gatherings last month when fans at American Fork High School in Utah were disregarding mask and social distancing requirements during a game.

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