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Tuesday Cannon Fodder: COVID outbreak

Burnley v West Ham United - Premier League - Turf Moor Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images

There is a burgeoning COVID outbreak in the Premier League. Two matches — Tottenham vs. Brighton and Manchester United vs. Brentford — have both been postponed because of outbreaks at Spurs and United. Both of those clubs’ next matches may need to be delayed as well. Aston Villa has several players on the COVID list. Leicester has a handful. Arsenal have had several staff test positive. All told, the PL announced 42 positive tests last week among players and staff, the most of any week.

The NHS raised the COVID alert level from 3 to 4 because of rising cases and concern about the omicron variant. Level 4 means “a Covid-19 epidemic is in general circulation; transmission is high and direct Covid-19 pressure on healthcare services is widespread and substantial or rising.”

The Premier League told clubs to return to stricter protocols for team facilities and for fans on matchdays. Starting on Wednesday across the league, fans will need to show proof of double vaccination or a negative lateral flow test to get into grounds, although an August trial of such protocols deemed checking 100% of match-attendees impossible for most, if not all, clubs.

The UK government seemingly wants to keep fans in the grounds around the Premier League, but with cases rising steeply, they might be forced to revisit that decision. If more matches are postponed (something they are trying like heck to avoid), the PL might have to shut down for a week or two, although that is likely a last resort option.

As I have said time and again, just because we are over COVID does not mean that COVID is over. The vaccine remains our best defense against the pandemic. Please get vaccinated and boosted if that is available to you.