JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Citing the rising number of COVID-19 cases, state health leaders say it could be time to cancel - or at least postpone - winter sports.
“I am worried about basketball … basketball crowds, standing in line at concession stands,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers. “Schools have become a bigger issue this week.”
Byers and State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs discussed school sports at a virtual Q and A, which they hosted to answer viewers’ and listeners’ questions about the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two agree that it could be time to scale back or cancel school sports to help slow the spread of the virus.
“We strongly encourage schools to look at putting off games,” Dobbs said, noting that more and more schools are cancelling games as a result of COVID outbreaks.
They said that if games are to go on, that they should be done without spectators.
Dobbs urged viewers and listeners to do some soul searching, to determine whether they want to prioritize athletic activities over community health.
The conversation comes as schools across the state adjust to rising coronavirus numbers.
This week, nine high school football playoff games were canceled because of outbreaks.
Additionally, several schools and school districts announced that they were going back to virtual learning due to rising coronavirus infection numbers among students and teachers.
At the same time, one school’s boys' baseball team and cheerleading team had canceled activities through December 1 because of the number of COVID cases reported there.