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Estimating event ban effects on COVID-19 outbreak in Japan

By Junko Kurita, Tamie Sugawara, Yasushi Ohkusa

Posted 04 Jan 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.29.20248977

Background: Before Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, whether an audience shall be allowed or not has been a subject of concern in Japan as of early June, 2021. Object: We evaluated effects of professional baseball games with audiences as an example of the large sports events, on COVID-19 infectiousness. Method: We regressed the effective reproduction number R(t) on a dummy variable for professional baseball games with audiences as along with temperature, humidity, mobility, and countermeasures. We examined two study periods: those including and excluding before initiation of the games in 2020. Results: Estimation results indicate that the period with audiences exhibited significantly lower infectiousness than when audiences were excluded before initiation of the games with audience attendance. However, audiences were found to have a negative but insignificant effect when compared to the period before initiation of the attended games. Discussion and Conclusion: This study found no clear evidence indicating that big sports events with audiences raise the COVID-19 infectiousness.

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