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CDC links COVID-19 clusters to sports teams

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Posted at 1:02 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 15:02:06-04

Youth sports may be one factor fueling the latest spread of COVID-19. The CDC now says youth tournaments and extracurricular activities are creating clusters where coronavirus can spread among children.

"We're working to facilitate increased testing that is happening on the ground in the context of youth sports," said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC.

Health officials say as kids continue to play indoor sports like basketball, hockey and wrestling, it's causing an increase in COVID-19 cases in the some parts of the United States.

"We are seeing a higher proportion of younger people getting ill and unfortunately getting hospitalized," said Dr. Leana Wen, CNN Medical Analyst.

In Florida, the CDC reports the virus was linked to high school wrestling tournaments in December, where 38 people were infected. And in Minnesota, officials there say the B117 variant, first found in the UK, spread through one county where at least 68 cases were linked to youth sporting events.

School sports, particularly team sports which people typically engage in close contact without masks, I think that is what's explaining these surges of cases in young individuals," said Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The CDC recommends minimizing time spent indoors and reduce the amount of time players spending in close contact with each other. Health experts also recommend having children play outdoors when possible and not share water bottles.