Medical expert weighs in on spread of COVID-19 at college football games

Dr. Bruce Y. Lee discusses colleges reopening during the pandemic with WTOP's Ken Duffy.

While sports fans are happy to see the return of crowds at college football games this season, images of tens of thousands of fans shoulder to shoulder without masks on is troubling some medical experts in terms of spreading COVID-19.

“It’s not as if the wind can act as a giant vacuum,” Dr. Bruce Y. Lee, executive director of Public Health Informatics, Computational, and Operation Research (PHICOR) and professor at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy told WTOP.

While being outdoors is generally safe, Lee said it’s a different story if you’re next to a bunch of people.

“If you’re not checking and making sure that people are vaccinated and people aren’t wearing face masks, there is the concern that the virus is hovering around and you can get infected.”

This week, President Joe Biden presented a new national plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which includes a requirement for all federal workers to get vaccinated and private companies with 100 employees or more to mandate the same for their workforce.

Asked about the plan and if something should’ve been done sooner, Lee said the U.S. should’ve created a national proof of vaccination system, also known as vaccine “passports” separate from the vaccine card one receives after getting a shot to ensure people know who’s protected and who isn’t.

Lee said it can’t be done state by state.

“What happens if you have someone from one state that’s not having any type of verification system but they work in a state with a verification system?” Lee said. “It can get very complicated.”

Lee also suggests that schools need to slow down in terms of going back to entirely pre-pandemic norms just yet.

“Haste can make waste,” says Dr. Lee. “Sure, you can rush back to try to return to normal as quickly as possible but if you do it too quickly you’re going to end up losing.”

Ken Duffy

Ken Duffy is a reporter and anchor at WTOP with more than 20 years of experience. He has reported from major events like the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, 2016 Election Night at Trump Headquarters in Midtown Manhattan and the 2007 Super Bowl in Miami.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up