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Excess Risk of COVID-19 to University Populations Resulting from In-Person Sporting Events.

Abstract

One of the consequences of COVID-19 has been the cancelation of collegiate sporting events. We explore the impact of sports on COVID-19 transmission on a college campus.

Events caused an increase in the number of cases ranging from a 25% increase when the campus already had an uncontrolled COVID-19 outbreak and visitors had a low prevalence of COVID-19 and mixed lightly with the campus community to an 822% increase where the campus had controlled their COVID-19 outbreak and visitors had both a high prevalence of COVID-19 and mixed heavily with the campus community. The model was insensitive to parameter uncertainty, save for the duration a symptomatic individual was infectious.

Using a compartmental model representing the university, we model the impact of influxes of 10,000 visitors attending events and ancillary activities (dining out, visiting family, shopping, etc.) on 20,000 students. We vary the extent visitors interact with the campus, the number of infectious visitors, and the extent to which the campus has controlled COVID-19 absent events. We also conduct a global sensitivity analysis.

Sporting events represent a threat to the health of the campus community. This is the case even in circumstances where COVID-19 seems controlled both on-campus and among the general population.

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