Wednesday December 6, 2023

Omicron Surge Throws Premier League, U.S. Sports Into Flux

  • A surge in COVID-19 cases has led Premier League teams to call for all games to be postponed.
  • U.S. leagues have also cancelled games.
Brentford FC/Design: Alex Brooks
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A growing list of Premier League teams are pushing for a three-week pause on games as the omicron variant causes a new surge in COVID-19 cases, disrupting every active sport.

Several matches have already been postponed due to teams lacking sufficient available players, and league officials were informed that there is support for suspending all matches until Jan. 8, 2022. 

Cancellations would cost the league broadcast revenue. The league decided that Tottenham and Leicester City would play on Thursday, despite both teams asking the game be postponed. Fans in England will have to show proof of vaccination status or a negative test to attend games in person, as of Thursday.

Daily new COVID-19 cases in the U.K. hovered in the 50,000 range over the last week before spiking to over 78,339 on Wednesday. 

U.S. Leagues Getting Antsy

North American leagues have faced their own concerns, with over 100 players across the NFL, NBA, and NHL entering COVID protocols this week. 

  • The NFL, which had over 70 positive tests between Monday and Tuesday, is mandating booster shots for players and certain employees by Dec. 27.
  • The NBA and NHL have both postponed games due to team-wide outbreaks.
  • Because 97% of NBA players and 94% of NFL players are vaccinated, the vast majority of those testing positive have few or no symptoms
  • College basketball teams, including Tulane and Cleveland State, have temporarily shut down due to a spate of positive cases. Saturday’s Kentucky-Ohio State was cancelled due to COVID issues with the Buckeyes.

The latest surge in cases is rippling throughout the entire economy. Apple and Alphabet both suspended plans to return employees to their offices, and numerous other banks and other companies are following suit.

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