Youth Sports Is a Suspect as Infections Increase

Michigan's governor asks for a timeout, though some teams are declining
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2021 12:30 PM CDT
Youth Sports Is a Suspect as Infections Increase
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state about the pandemic Friday as Dr. Joneigh Khaldun of the state health department listens.   (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP)

With the rates of young people hospitalized for COVID-19 climbing, especially in Upper Midwest states, officials again are looking for ways to reverse the trend. Sports is one focus. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would like organized youth sports, games and practices, to take a two-week break. It's not so much an order as a plea, CNN reports. "We need everyone to step up and to take personal responsibility here," Whitmer said Friday. In Minnesota, too, Dr. Rochelle Walensky of the CDC said, "there is concern about transmission in youth sports—both club sports, as well as sports affiliated in schools." Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said last week that cases and admissions are increasing. "We're moving now in the wrong direction," he said.

In Michigan and Minnesota, Walensky said, the coronavirus variant first reported in Britain is spreading rapidly, per CNBC. A county in Minnesota has tied 68 cases to school and club sports including hockey, wrestling, basketball, and alpine skiing. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that a wrestling tournament in Florida led to at least 38 coronavirus cases. Michigan health officials reported 291 outbreaks and 1,091 infections in the first three months of the year blamed on youth sports, per the Detroit News. At least some teams and leagues have already said they won't suspend practices or games, per the News. Whitmer would also like schools to move back from in-person to virtual learning for a couple of weeks. "This has to be a team effort," she said. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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