The duel between Liverpool and Atlético de Madrid, for the round of 16 of the European Champions League, on March 11, caused 41 deaths from coronavirus, according to a study carried out by “Edge Health” and published by the British newspaper The Sunday Times on Sunday .
The study by Edge Health, a group that analyzes data for the British National Health Service (NHS), estimates that the match in Liverpool caused 41 deaths between 25 and 35 days after the date of the game, one of the last sporting events in Britain before activities were suspended due to the covid-19 pandemic.
About 54,000 fans were present at Anfield, home of Liverpool, including 3,000 supporters of Atlético, who traveled to Britain just a few days before the Spanish government declared a state of emergency in the country due to the pandemic, with the closure of schools, bars, restaurants and other places. The Spanish team won the turnaround duel 3-2 in overtime and advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
The meeting was the last major game played in Britain before restrictive isolation measures began to take effect as a way to contain the spread of the virus. Shortly thereafter, the main European leagues were suspended.
English and Spanish officials acknowledged that the match was a mistake. Matthew Ashton, Liverpool’s director of public health, said the duel shouldn’t have happened. The mayor of Madrid, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, disapproved the presence of Atlético fans at Anfield.
Even Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp went so far as to say that the fact that the athletes went out on the pitch was “criminal”, according to Everton’s Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti.
“I talked to Klopp a few days ago, he told me that the decision to make the match between Liverpool and Atlético was a criminal act and I think he is right,” Ancelotti said in an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.
The study also estimates that the Cheltenham festival, an annual horse racing event that took place unrestricted in Britain, bringing together more than 150,000 people, caused 37 more covid deaths-19 days after the event.
Britain and Spain are two of the countries most affected by the coronavirus, with about 258,000 and 235,000 cases, respectively, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. So far, more than 36,000 deaths have been recorded in British territory and more than 28,000 Spaniards have died from the disease.
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