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MIT Research Scores the NFL's Mask Rules

March 29, 2022 • 3:33 am CDT
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(Coronavirus Today)

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, saying "the benefits of providing a tightly controlled outdoor spectating environment — including masking and distancing requirements — counterbalanced the risks associated with the opening (of NFL stadiums to fans)."

"We find it is likely that opening stadiums had no impact on local COVID-19 case counts," commented these researchers in an MIT article issued on March 23, 2022.

"The most remarkable feature of our results is their unremarkable."

"By and large, the synthetic counties are well behaved, and the analysis shows no indication that opening stadiums impacted community spread."

"These results show that the measures adopted by the NFL were effective in safely opening stadiums," says study author Anette "Peko" Hosoi, the Neil and Jane Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT.

"If case counts start to rise again, we know what to do: mask people, put them outside, and distance them from each other."

Furthermore, the SARS-CoV-2 virus, like many respiratory viruses, is hard to contract when outdoors.

On March 23, 2022, the U.S. White House stated 'the most common way COVID-19 is transmitted from one person to another is through tiny airborne particles hanging in indoor air for minutes or hours after an infected person has been there. 

The study's co-authors are members of MIT's Institue for Data, Systems, and Society and include Bernardo García Bulle, Dennis Shen, and Devavrat Shah, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

No industry conflicts of interest were disclosed.

Previous mask studies are posted at this link.

Note: This news article edited the study's findings for clarity and was curated for mobile readers.