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Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist Weighs In On St. Louis County Youth Sports Decision

On July 23, the St. Louis Sports Medicine COVID-19 Task Force, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and the St. Louis Department of Health released a statement on their decision to impose new limits on youth sports.
Daiquan Wilson
On July 23, the St. Louis Sports Medicine COVID-19 Task Force, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and the St. Louis Department of Health released a statement on their decision to impose new limits on youth sports.

An increase in COVID-19 cases in the St. Louis region has caused the St. Louis Sports Medicine COVID-19 Task Force, the St. Louis County Department of Public Health and the St. Louis Department of Health to initiate a hold on all youth sport games and scrimmages.

The move has some pediatricians frustrated that the focus was narrowed in on youth sports, rather than congregations in bars and restaurants.

“I’ve been calling to say, ‘Shut down the bars completely,’” said Dr. Jason Newland on Monday's St. Louis on the Air. Newland is a pediatric infectious disease specialist and serves as chair of the St. Louis Sports Medicine Task Force.

Newland said he was frustrated when St. Louis County Executive Sam Page called children’s sports “the primary source of spread in the community.”

“I understand all the grief and anger toward that decision, because it didn’t feel fair,” Newland said.

Yet Newland understands the decision to limit games and scrimmages.

“We had to step up to do the right thing at that time, because the biggest and most important thing that I believe our community should focus on is getting our children back into school. In-person school is essential. It’s essential not only for the education, but the socialization [and] the additional support one gets in school.”

He added that in-person education will play an important role in avoiding “some of the disparities that we’ll be seeing if all we do is virtual learning.”

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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