Boston Marathon participants will have to show TWO negative COVID-19 tests before this year’s race


Boston Marathon participants will have to show up to TWO negative COVID-19 tests before this year’s race – even if they’ve been vaccinated

  • Runners at this year’s Boston Marathon race will have to show a negative COVID-19 test before they’re allowed to hit the course, even if they’ve been vaccinated  
  • Boston Athletic Association says it will set up a program to offer COVID testing to runners and that the tests will need to be done within a couple of days before
  • The testing will also applies to volunteers at the race as well
  •  Traditionally, the Marathon would take place in just over a weeks time, but the pandemic has pushed it back to October 11
  • The race was canceled last year for the first time in its 124 year history

Participants in this year’s Boston Marathon will be required to show proof of up to two negative COVID-19 tests before the race, even if they have been vaccinated. 

The historic race will also carry a new $25 fee to cover costs associated with preventing the spread of the coronavirus, and organizers have decided to eliminate a staging area where athletes traditionally mingle and stretch before the start of the race.

It’s not yet clear if the two tests requirement will mean runners will be allowed to run the race without masks.  

‘With people coming from many places, it’s hard to know just exactly what sort of protective measures are available where they are so we’ll make every effort to apply the same standard to everybody,’ CEO of Boston Athletic Association Thomas Grilk said. 

Runners at this year’s Boston Marathon race will have to show a negative COVID-19 test before they’re allowed to hit the course, even if they’ve been vaccinated

‘The Boston Athletic Association said it is committed to taking all necessary steps to ensure the health and safety of participants, volunteers and the public,’ Grilk continued. 

‘We will continue to follow the science and adapt the event plan to reflect guidance from our local, city and state partners. 

‘At the moment it is the most broadly reliable way of knowing that people are unlikely to spread the disease, now as the science changes, there may be updates to that,’ said Grilk. 

Dr. Michael Misialek from Newton-Wellesley Hospital said he believes the Marathon is setting a good example with this policy, and that it would become standard practice for large events.

Marathons have been run in masks before. Here a running is pictured snapping a selfie with her cellphone while running the Beijing Marathon in 2014 due to heavy smog in the Chinese city

Marathons have been run in masks before. Here a running is pictured snapping a selfie with her cellphone while running the Beijing Marathon in 2014 due to heavy smog in the Chinese city

Boston Athletic Association says it will set up a program to offer COVID testing to runners and that the tests will need to be done within a couple of days before the race

Boston Athletic Association says it will set up a program to offer COVID testing to runners and that the tests will need to be done within a couple of days before the race

‘Anytime we have large gatherings of people there is a risk of spread, and the notion of potentially a vaccine passport or testing requirements to enter an establishment need to be given serious thought,’ said Dr. Misialek to WPRI

‘I imagine by then it’s probably going to be almost routine for certain events that you’re going to get tested, and it may not be such a big deal by then,’ he said.

The BAA announced in January that the 125th edition of the marathon would be pushed back from its traditional April running to October 11, assuming road races are allowed to take place under Massachusetts’ COVID-19 restrictions by then.

Marathoners get high fives in Wellesley College during the 123rd Boston Marathon,  April 2019

Marathoners get high fives in Wellesley College during the 123rd Boston Marathon,  April 2019

Organizers later announced the race would be capped at 20,000 participants to allow for social distancing along the course. A virtual option is also being offered for up to 70,000 athletes.

Officials said they would share more details on testing requirements ‘in the coming months.’

First run in 1897, the Boston Marathon was canceled last year for the first time in its history. 

Instead, almost 16,000 people ran in a virtual race, completing the 26.2-mile distance on their own over a 10-day period.  

In 1918, the marathon format was modified to a relay due to World War I; the 2013 race was stopped when two bombs exploded at the finish line, several hours after the winners had finished but while many recreational runners were still on the course. 

Johnny Miles, representing the Olympic Club of Hamilton, Ontario, winning the annual Boston Marathon, pictured in 1926

Johnny Miles, representing the Olympic Club of Hamilton, Ontario, winning the annual Boston Marathon, pictured in 1926

CAN JOGGING WITHOUT A FACE MASK INCREASE THE RISK OF SPREADING COVID?

There is little proof that jogging while wearing a mask reduces the risk of Covid and no infection has ever been been proven to be linked back to a runner.

Other than the first lockdown last spring, the UK Government has encouraged people to get out and exercise even during the strictest of lockdowns, indicating that minsters and their expert advisers do not deem jogging to be a major mode of transmission.

But that does not mean it has never happened and a small handful of scientists have warned it is possible. 

Covid is transmitted in microscopic droplets of moisture that carry viral particles.  

It was originally thought that the main source of spread was via these droplets from coughs and sneezes.  

But more recent studies suggests it can spread just as easily in aerosols in the breath, prompting concerns about people exercising on crowded pavements.

A study by  Eindhoven University in the Netherlands and the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium showed aerosols flow more than six feet behind an infected person while they walk, run or cycle.

The research last April raised the prospect of the outdoor exercisers being transmitters of the virus.

The scientists encouraged runners to steer clear of busy pavements and said jogging with a friend would be safer if people run side-by-side. 

Researchers are equally unsure about whether masks could prevent this from happening because there is still fierce debate about whether non-medical grade face coverings reduce transmission at all.

The largest real-world study into face coverings and Covid, known as Danmask, found there was no difference in infection rates between people who wore masks in public places and those who did not. 

The Copenhagen experts looked at 6,000 volunteers last spring before masks were mandatory there. 

However the study has come under scrutiny, with critics pointing out that less than half of participants actually wore masks when they were supposed to.

Meanwhile, a study last month showed that particles expelled from a person’s mouth as they speak or breathe can swirl and spread into the proximity of other people, even when wearing a mask. 

The study by the Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo found exhaled air from a person who is not wearing a mask moves downward due to gravity.

However, when a mask is worn while standing or sitting, the cloud of exhaled particles tends to attach to that person’s body and flows upwards.

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