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Assessing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in international professional golf.

Robinson, PG, Murray, A, Close, GL and Kinane, DF (2021) Assessing the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in international professional golf. BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine, 7 (2). ISSN 2055-7647

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Objectives: There is no published data on the incidence or risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission when playing golf, a sport played outdoors where social distancing is possible. The purpose of this prospective study was to report incidence and transmission regarding SARS-CoV-2, of professional golfers competing on the PGA European Tour across 23 events in 11 countries. Methods: Daily symptom and temperature checks and weekly reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) screening were performed to determine potential carriage of SARS-CoV-2. Onset and type of symptomology were analysed. Gene expression and cycle thresholds (Cts) were reviewed for all positive cases. Repeat PCR testing was performed on all positive players. RT-PCR analysis included human housekeeping genes and various RNA genes specific for SARS-CoV-2. Results: During the study period, there were 2900 RT-PCR tests performed on 195 professional golfers competing on the European Tour. Four players tested positive on-site during the study period (0.14% of tests; positive results were declared with Ct <40). Two positive tests were returned as part of routine protocols, while two reported a history of close contact with an individual who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and were isolated and target tested. All were asymptomatic at time of testing, with three developing symptoms subsequently. None required hospital admission. There was no transmission from player to player. Conclusion: Golf is an outdoor sport where social distancing is possible, meaning risks can be low if guidance is followed by participants. Risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 can be mitigated by highly accurate RT-PCR testing of participants and by setting up a safe bubble that includes testing players and support staff, as well as all persons coming into contact with them during the course of the tournament, for example, drivers and hotel staff. This report can also provide reassurance for participants and policy makers regarding community golf, which can be encouraged for the health benefits it provides, in a relatively low-risk environment, with minimal risk of transmission by observing sensible viral hygiene protocols.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1106 Human Movement and Sports Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Sport & Exercise Sciences
Publisher: BMJ Group Ltd
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2022 10:21
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2022 10:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1136/bmjsem-2021-001109
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/16597
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