TAMPA, Florida – We’ve seen it across the country, events that are becoming super spreaders of the coronavirus, and now a new CDC report says that an amateur hockey game in the Tampa Bay area became like this earlier this summer.
Experts are still learning a lot when it comes to super-distributors, and although there is no precise medical definition, the general consensus outlined by Dr. Thomas Unash, a respected professor at USF, is: “An event in which a person leads to multiple secondary contacts. “
This is exactly what happened at the hockey game in the Gulf region on June 1
The article, described in the CDC’s weekly report on morbidity and mortality, created by officials in Hillsborough County, Pinelas County and Florida, states that one infected player in a hockey game may have infected at least 14 others.
The facility where the game takes place is not mentioned in the report, but it is stated that the game involves men aged 19-53. The article went on to say that each hockey team has 11 players, one spectator in the arena, two referees and at least one ice rink employee.
According to the CDC report, 14 hockey players graduated with COVID-19, as well as one ice rink employee.
However, the article also states: “A limitation of this investigation was that not all players in the game sought testing and asymptomatic infections were probably not identified.”
The authors say that the facecloths were not worn during the game or in the locker rooms.
This event is one of the few published reports on the transmission of COVID-19 related to specific sporting events.
“Internal space and close contact between players during hockey play increase the risk of infection for players and create the potential for over-spread, especially in the current transmission of COVID-19 to the community. Extreme events, in which one infected person infects many others, can lead to explosive growth at the beginning of the outbreak and facilitate permanent transmission later in the outbreak. “
CDC Weekly Morbidity and Mortality Report, October 16, 2020
Although there are few cases of documented sporting events leading to COVID-19 outbreaks, “super distributors” are not unheard of. In fact, experts, including Dr. Unnasch, believe that most of the transmission of COVID-19 comes from a small group of people called “super-distributors” who have larger amounts of the virus than the average person.
“They are terribly contagious people and there is a really good, high probability of getting infected,” said Dr. Unnash.
The problem is that there is no real way to identify them.
“Probably about 1 in 300 or 1 in 500 people walking there in Hillsborough County at the moment, or possibly in our state, are super distributors,” said Dr. Unnasch.
So your best bet to avoid infection is to limit how many people you are around and to ensure that both parties wear masks when you come in contact with people.
“I think it’s pretty safe to play sports in empty arenas. The chances of having a super distributor in two teams of 11 people, say for a football match, are probably not so high. But then, if you fill this arena with 25,000 people, there’s a chance you’ll have a super spreading event there. “
But as was the case with the hockey game in June, which was located in an empty arena where one person infected more than half of the players and an employee of the ice rink, there is always a risk.