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US Increasing number of corona cases among professionals: "No sports bubble is completely sealed, not even the Bundesliga"

10:25  25 november  2020
10:25  25 november  2020 Source:   tagesspiegel.de

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The pharmacologist Fritz Sörgel speaks in an interview about false-positive cases in football and a hopeful study.

In der Blase. Die Bundesliga-Fußballer sind formell an strenge Maßnahmen gebunden. © Photo: picture alliance / dpa In the bubble. The Bundesliga soccer players are formally bound by strict measures.

Fritz Sörgel, 70, is the head of the Institute for Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research in Nuremberg and deals intensively with the effects of Covid-19 on sport.

Mr. Sörgel, the Bundesliga fan is often confused these days. Sometimes a player is tested positive, then negative again.

This can have various causes, including non-reproducible nasal and throat swabs and incorrect interpretation of the PCR test. When such factors come together, something like that happens with Niklas Süle, who was sometimes positive, sometimes negative.

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Even middle-class people spent as much as two-thirds of their income on food, of which a fairly high and sensitive proportion was bread. G. American football is one of the most popular sports in the United States. It is a very physical game and the players wear helmets and special protective clothes.

Is the PCR test not working?

The PCR test itself is perfect, what would we be in modern medicine without it . But what are known as ct values ​​are obtained from the tests. These indicate how much virus material there is in the tested person. For this, chemical reactions have to be repeated umpteen times, which means that they have to be intensified at times. With this procedure one can imagine the job of an analyst like that of a sound engineer who, for example, wants to capture the sound of a chapel bell. If the band is far away, the sound engineer has to amplify the signal strongly in order to hear something. If the chapel is very close, he doesn't have to do that. An amplified tone rarely sounds good. This is also the case with the ct value. If the amount of virus is small, the required chemical reaction must be repeated many times in order to obtain a measurement result. And then there is a lack of standardized procedures in the laboratories.

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Most of the cases are mild or asymptomatic and none so far have required critical care, according to the government, perhaps explaining why the spread among the But the rapid spread of the virus among foreign laborers was a clear lapse in the stringent epidemic planning, which was strengthened

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And then it is no longer clear whether the person tested is positive or negative.

Exactly, there are limit values. When the ct value, i.e. the viral load, has a value close to 40. This means that a chemical reaction has to be repeated forty times in order to detect a reliable signal from the measuring device. Such limit values ​​can be a problem because it is not entirely clear whether it is a positive or negative case. This is a classic problem in any analytical process, and at the limit of measurement it is always dangerous in biochemistry.

Is the limit set too low in the Bundesliga and in professional sport in general? It is noticeable that more and more players are missing because of a positive coronavirus infection.


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I also think that for the bubble football - and not just that - you have to think about how far you dare to reach the measurement limit. This doesn't just apply to sport, I don't want any preferential treatment. It also applies to other bubbles in society that are well shielded. Basically, of course, it can be said that professional athletes are medically not part of the risk group and that the limit value can perhaps be adjusted upwards. Apart from Ilkay Gündogan, who probably had more severe symptoms, I do not know of any infected professional footballer in this country who had major health problems .

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Two households in Wales can now form a bubble and can meet in their own homes, while up to 15 people are allowed to meet for organised activities People living in Northern Ireland are also currently under restrictions. Support bubbles are limited to a maximum of 10 people from two households.

The error meant that although those who tested positive were told about their results, their close contacts were not traced. By Monday afternoon, around half of those who tested positive had yet to be asked about their close contacts. Labour said the missing results were "putting lives at risk".

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What are the other reasons for the many positive cases in professional sport ?

I assume that the professional footballers, like the rest of society, no longer adhered to the measures in the fall as disciplined as they did in early summer. This is not a reproach to the professional footballers,

we all underestimated the pandemic and are therefore now in this situation with the high number of cases.

1. FC Union even wanted to start the season with a full stadium.

Yes, that was a bit of the mood almost until the beginning of October: We have it under control. But unfortunately that wasn't true. We did not and do not have the pandemic under control. The problem for sport is this high level of basic infection in the population because it causes the virus to slip through holes in the sport's bladders. And no sports bubble is completely sealed, not even the Bundesliga.

How can the professional leagues or professional clubs react to this?

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You are already doing everything imaginable. But sport can do nothing against the infection rate in society. He can only hope that there will be a hard lockdown, because then the number of cases would go down again. And the highest discipline up to the shielding of the families will be necessary if you want to keep the professional leagues alive, an impermeable bubble would have to be. But that's almost impossible.

Indoor sports in particular have to struggle.

Hope in this regard was given by an

study at a concert in Leipzig by Tim Bendzko . The result was that indoor events with many people are possible. But only if there is a very good ventilation system.

Can the much-anticipated vaccine save sport?

I have just read that the Australian airline Qantas is planning to make passengers vaccinated. At the moment I can hardly imagine that something like this can be introduced in this country. In the case of sport, this would be compulsory for players and spectators alike. But you couldn't even imagine putting on masks in February in Germany. Therefore: If the economic pressure to survive in sport increases further, I can already imagine that the vaccine or the antibody test will still play a role.

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This is interesting!