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Matthew Yeo – “Mass Outdoor Events and the Spread of an Airborne Virus: English Football and Covid-19” — PhD Seminar
Mass attendance events are a mainstay of economic and social activity. However, such events can potentially have public health consequences by facilitating the spreading of disease. Despite these concerns, there is currently limited evidence on the extent to which such events, especially those taking place outdoor, can spread disease. To provide evidence on this, we examine how football matches that took place in England contributed to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Our sample covers 336 league and cup matches from the Premier League down to the 8th tier of English football in March 2020 immediately before the season was halted. Combined attendance at these matches was almost 1.5m and these matches took place in around 60% of local areas. We evaluate how attendance at these matches and how full the stadia were, contributed to the spread of Covid-19 in these areas in April.