The resumption of football in São Paulo registered cases of Covid-19 in 12% of athletes between July and December 2020, according to a study by the FMUSP

The Covid-19 infection rate in the resumption of soccer in the state of São Paulo in 2020 reached 12% among athletes and 7% among support staff, with 25 outbreaks recorded, with five or more cases registered in the same team in two weeks. The result is part of a study by the Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo (FMUSP) that analyzed more than 29,000 tests carried out by the São Paulo Football Federation (FPF) between July and December of last year. According to the article, the numbers are similar to those found in frontline health professionals around the world, and attest to the enormous risk of opening up the sport in countries like Brazil, which have failed to control the pandemic.

The research findings are presented in an article published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine on July 5th. The study is part of the Sport-Covid-19 Coalition project, which brings together scientists from various centers with the aim of investigating the impact of Covid-19 on the health of athletes. “Our research group had access to a database with more than 29,000 PCR-type tests, carried out in a group of 6,500 athletes and support staff, who competed in championships organized by the São Paulo Football Federation (FPF) between July and December 2020”, reports Professor Bruno Gualano, from FMUSP, the first author of the article. "In this period, there were 662 positive tests, 501 in athletes".

“The infection rate was higher in athletes, reaching 12%, than in support staff, which was 7%. “The most serious cases, including one death, were mostly observed among the support staff”, highlights Gualano. “This incidence of infection is very high when compared to other leagues that were revived during the pandemic. In Germany, for example, there was no positive case throughout the championship”.

The study concludes that, in countries unable to minimally control the epidemic, which, unfortunately, is the case in Brazil, openness to sport is associated with an enormous risk of infections.

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