Mapping College Football Crowds and Covid Risk

Elwanda Tulloch

While public discourse around college football’s return has focused on the student-athlete risk, fan attendance could have a greater impact on overall public health. For the programs still planning to play this fall, yet another decision looms: Will there be fans at games? And if so, how many?

There have already been instances of the health risks that come from crowded sporting events. The first came Feb. 19, as nearly 2,500 fans of Spanish soccer club Valencia traveled to Italy to watch a Champions League match against Atalanta. They were among the 44,236 fans inside Milan’s San Siro Stadium, and several weeks later, after it was determined to be a coronavirus “super-spreading event” that played a significant role in outbreaks locally and in Spain, the match became known as “Game Zero.”

ESPN interviewed more than a dozen epidemiologists and infectious disease experts about the role college football could play in

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