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Title: An observational study of the Covid-19 situation following the first pan-European mass sports event
Authors: Cuschieri, Sarah
Grech, Stephan
Cuschieri, Andrea
Keywords: COVID-19 (Disease) -- Social aspects
European Championship (Soccer tournament) (16th : 2021 : Azerbaijan; Denmark; England; Germany; Hungary; Italy; Netherlands; Romania; Russia; Scotland; Spain)
Sports -- Health aspects -- Case studies
COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020- -- Social aspects
Coronavirus infections -- Prevention -- Europe
COVID-19 (Disease) -- Vaccination -- Europe
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: European Journal of Clinical Investigation
Citation: Cuschieri, S., Grech, S., & Cuschieri, A. (2022). An observational study of the Covid‐19 situation following the first pan‐European mass sports event. European Journal of Clinical Investigation, e13743.
Abstract: Background: All events in Europe, including EURO2020 football championship, were postponed due to Covid-19 in 2020. Instead, Euro2020 took place in 2021, as mitigation measures were relaxed, cross-country mobility increased and the Delta variant was spreading across Europe. This study explored the possibility of an increased Covid-19 spread across Europe following EURO2020 matches. Methods: Covid-19 data on cases, vaccination and delta variant for participating countries, host cities/regions and neighbouring countries, for May till July 2021, were obtained from European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Our World in Data, Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard and the UK Government website. EURO2020 data were obtained from the Union of European Football Associations official website. Results: A general increase in Covid-19 positivity trend in Europe was observed following a week of EURO2020 matches across most countries and host cities. A similar trend was observed for the Delta variant sample positivity rate. The increased incidence was mostly among the young generation (<49 years). A decline in positive cases was observed on a national level for most countries following the Finals match. Conclusion: The EURO2020 was an anticipated mass sports event, and it was the first-time spectators were allowed to enter stadiums in Europe. Stadiums instituted several mitigations to safeguard the spectators although reports of transmission were still present. The major challenges were the gatherings outside the stadiums that might have contributed to these observations. Targeted restrictions might be required during mass sport events especially in the presence of highly transmissible variant(s) and low vaccination rates among the young generation.
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