COVID-19: 40,000 People Were Infected At Atalanta VS Valencia UCL Match
Atalanta vs Valencia UCL Match

COVID-19: 40,000 People Were Infected At Atalanta VS Valencia UCL Match

Felix Egbomuche

Felix Egbomuche

The game, which was played over a month ago, is said to be the starting point for the spread of the coronavirus pandemic across Europe, according to top immunologist, Professor Francesco Le Foche.

Atalanta won the game by 4-1 in front of over 44,000 people who had travelled to Italy to watch the spectacle.

The game was played at Milan’s San Siro on February 19, as the home side’s ground in Bergamo was deemed too small.

Well, they were able to get more fans to see the game, but as it is now, that is looking like a terrible decision with many who attended the game suspected to have been exposed to the virus.

Over 100,000 people have been infected with the virus, with the death toll in both countries topping 10,000. The cemetery in Bergamo, Italy, is now holding burials every 30 minutes and army trucks were used two days ago to move the high number of coffins.

Immunologist, Professor Le Foche, has linked the outbreak of the virus to that game, saying: “It’s probably that there were several major triggers and catalysts for the diffusion of the virus.

“The Atalanta-Valencia game could very well have been one of them. It was the apex of collective euphoria in a unique football season for this club.

“A month has passed since that match, so the timing is pertinent.

“The aggregation of thousands of people, centimetres from each other, engaging in manifestations of euphoria like hugging, shouting, all of that could’ve favoured viral reciprocation.

“I have to imagine many didn’t want to miss that game if they had tickets, even if they felt a slight fever.

“With hindsight, it was madness to play with a crowd present, but at the time things weren’t clear enough. It’d be unthinkable now.”

Nine Valencia players and staff (35 per cent of their squad) have tested positive for the coronavirus since that trip to Milan, while Atalanta goalkeeper, Marco Sportiello, has also tested positive for the deadly bug, leading to the entire squad being quarantined.

Bergamo was locked down days after the game, with the mayor of the City, Giorgio Gori, labelling the clash a “biological bomb” and saying he believes it caused the spread of the virus in Europe.

“The match was a biological bomb. At that time we did not know what was happening," he is quoted to have said, according to Spanish paper, Marca.

“If the virus was already circulating, the forty thousand fans who went to San Siro were infected.

“No one knew that the virus was already circulating among us.

“Many watched the game in groups and there were lots of contact [between fans] that night.

“The virus passed from one person to another.”

Adding to his earlier comments, Professor Le Foche reckoned that it would now be “unthinkable” to have such an event with thousands of people attending given how contagious the virus is.

“At the time the match was played there was still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the virus," he said.

“What we didn’t know was just how contagious it was but obviously today we know how quickly the virus can spread.

“Today it would be unthinkable to hold such a large event and that’s why everything has stopped.”

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