Preprint Communication Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Coronavirus and Football (Soccer): Why Mid-Day Matches Are Much Safer for Players

Version 1 : Received: 30 June 2020 / Approved: 3 July 2020 / Online: 3 July 2020 (05:13:30 CEST)

How to cite: Kashtan, N.; Fedorenko, A.; Orevi, T. Coronavirus and Football (Soccer): Why Mid-Day Matches Are Much Safer for Players. Preprints 2020, 2020070012 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0012.v1). Kashtan, N.; Fedorenko, A.; Orevi, T. Coronavirus and Football (Soccer): Why Mid-Day Matches Are Much Safer for Players. Preprints 2020, 2020070012 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0012.v1).

Abstract

Safely resuming sporting events while the coronavirus is spreading is challenging – yet possible – if the science is taken into account. Two main ways the coronavirus can spread among football players is through air-suspended microdroplets (and possibly aerosols), and via contact with contaminated surfaces. Here we estimated virus survival in dried saliva droplets on a football pitch (i.e., on the grass) and on the ball itself, and compared these measures between mid-day and nighttime matches. We find, based on experiments with the enveloped phage Phi6 – a surrogate for SARS-Cov-2 – that while the virus survives reasonably well on both pitch and ball during a nighttime match (~10% survival), virtually no viruses survived the 90-minute duration of a mid-day match on a hot, sunny day. These results, taken together with studies reporting rapid deactivation of coronavirus in aerosols by sunlight, suggest that playing football in mid-day reduces the likelihood of transmission between players, and thus increases players’ safety.

Supplementary and Associated Material

http://www.nadavkashtan.com: Kashtan Lab website

Subject Areas

COVID-19; football; soccer; microbiology; microdroplets; saliva; SARS-CoV-2, sport; soccer; surfaces; transmission; viruses

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