U.S. sees rising Covid cases associated with youth sports, CDC director says

Youth hockey has had more positive coronavirus cases across the country than most sports.

Adam Glanzman | The Washington Post | Getty Images

There are increasing reports of Covid-19 cases related to youth sports in the US, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

The connection between youth sports and increased coronavirus cases is that the highly infectious B.1.1.7 variant identified for the first time in Great Britain has become the most common Covid strain in the USA

There are growing numbers of Covid cases related to B.1.1.7 variants in Michigan and Minnesota, Walensky said. “Both states have concerns about transmission in youth sports, both club and school.”

“What is happening in Michigan and Minnesota is similar to what we are seeing across the country: increasing reports of cases related to youth sports,” Walensky said at a White House press conference on Covid-19 Friday.

There were 291 outbreaks in Michigan between January and March that came from youth sports teams that involved at least 1,091 people, health officials said at a separate news conference on Friday. Governor Gretchen Whitmer urged schools and clubs to pause personal exercises and games for two weeks to control the outbreak. She also urged schools to stop personal learning during this time.

In Minnesota, the B.1.1.7 strain quickly spread throughout Carver County, with at least 68 cases of coronavirus linked to participants in school and club sports activities such as hockey, wrestling, basketball, alpine skiing, and other sports, the state reported Health Department March.

A Covid outbreak at a wrestling tournament in Florida in December resulted in at least 38 coronavirus cases, according to a CDC study.

Walensky emphasized that Covid-19 cases related to youth sports are not necessarily related to an increased risk of transmission in classrooms.

“As cases increase in the community, we expect the cases seen in schools to increase too. This is not necessarily indicative of school-based transmission,” Walensky said.

“We haven’t seen any evidence of significant transmission of Covid-19 within schools once schools have fully implemented the CDC’s harm control guidelines,” she said.

The CDC director also highlighted an increase in Covid-19 cases and emergency rooms in younger adults, most of whom have not yet been vaccinated.

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