Texas takes them out to the ballgame

Fans attend a game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Texas Rangers in the sixth inning at Globe Life Field on April 7, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. [Photo/Agencies]

A major league baseball stadium in Texas this week became the latest political battlefield over the approach to the coronavirus.

The Texas Rangers welcomed 38,238 fans — near capacity — at Globe Life Park in Arlington on Monday for opening day against the Toronto Blue Jays. The stadium's retractable roof was open on a 75-degree day; face coverings were required except when fans were eating or drinking.

Attendance topped that at two Florida events in February — the Daytona 500 auto race (which allowed in a little more than 30,000 fans) and NFL Super Bowl LV (24,835) in Tampa — making it the largest crowd at an American sporting event since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year.

President Joe Biden and his chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci have voiced disapproval of the Rangers' filling the stadium.

"I think it's a mistake," Biden said last week. "They should listen to Fauci, scientists and experts. I think it's not responsible."

When Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on March 2 that the state was dropping mask mandates and opening at "100 percent", Biden called the move "Neanderthal thinking".

"We're very confident we won't be a super-spreader event," Neil Leibman, the Rangers' CEO and president of business operations, said last month shortly after the governor lifted pandemic restrictions. "With all the protocols that we're following, we'll be extremely responsible and provide a very comfortable environment for somebody to enjoy the game without worrying we're going to be a spreader event."

The Rangers are the only MLB team to operate their stadium near 100 percent capacity, while the Houston Astros are second at 50 percent, although the Rangers have said they may not stay at the high level. The club said that it will have distanced-seating sections at the $1 billion stadium, which opened in 2020 and was the site of last year's World Series.

"I think it's great," Pug Landrum told ABC-TV affiliate WFAA in Dallas of the open ballpark. "We can't stay shut up forever. I'm not going to live in fear my whole life."

The New York Mets, by contrast, are requiring fans attending games to either be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative coronavirus test.

New cases of COVID-19 in the United States rose 5 percent to more than 450,000 last week, the third week in a row that infections had increased, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county data.

Datawise, Texas is smack in the middle of the US — 25th — in coronavirus cases per 100,000 people, with 9,709 as of April 4, but the numbers are trending down.

The Lone Star State reported a 30.7 percent drop in coronavirus cases in the week ending Sunday, with 19,490 new cases compared with the previous week's 28,119, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

There were 2,817 people hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 as of Saturday, the lowest number since June 2020.

"Even though everybody has COVID-19 fatigue and wants to get back to normality, you know, you see the pictures of a Texas Rangers stadium essentially crowded, we don't want to declare victory prematurely, because we have a virus out there now, this variant that spreads really quite efficiently," Fauci told MSNBC on Tuesday.

"I'm not really sure, it could be because they're doing things outdoors, you know it's very difficult to just one-on-one compare that," Fauci said of Texas' drop in cases. "I hope they continue to tick down; if they do, that would be great.

"We've been fooled before with places opening up, then nothing happens, but all of a sudden a few weeks later cases explode on you," Fauci said.

Time will tell whether Texas has made the right call.

Reuters contributed to this story.

2021年4月7日,在德克萨斯州阿灵顿的环球生命场,球迷们在第六局参加多伦多蓝鸟队和德克萨斯州流浪者队之间的比赛。[图片/机构]德克萨斯州的一个职业棒球大联盟体育场本周成为了应对冠状病毒的最新政治战场。德州游骑兵队周一在阿灵顿环球生命公园迎来了38,238名粉丝,接近满员,迎来了与多伦多蓝鸟队的首场比赛。体育场的可伸缩屋顶在华氏75度的日子开放;除了粉丝吃饭或喝酒的时候,还需要遮盖面部。今年2月,在佛罗里达州举行的两场赛事中,观众人数位居榜首——代托纳500汽车赛(允许3万多一点的球迷参加)和坦帕的NFL超级碗LV (24,835人参加)——这是自去年新冠肺炎大流行开始以来,美国体育赛事中观众人数最多的一次。乔·拜登总统和他的首席医疗顾问安东尼·福奇博士表示不赞成游骑兵队挤满体育场。“我认为这是一个错误,”拜登上周说。“他们应该听取福奇、科学家和专家的意见。我觉得不负责。”当德克萨斯州州长格雷格·艾伯特(Greg Abbott月2日宣布该州将取消口罩授权,并“100%开放”时,拜登称这一举措为“尼安德特人的思维”。“我们非常有信心我们不会成为一个超级传播者事件,”游骑兵队的首席执行官兼业务运营总裁尼尔·莱布曼上个月在州长解除流行病限制后不久说。“有了我们遵循的所有协议,我们将非常负责任,为人们提供一个非常舒适的环境来享受游戏,而不用担心我们会成为一个推广活动。”流浪者队是唯一一个100%运营体育场的MLB球队,而休斯顿太空人队以50%的比例位居第二,尽管流浪者队表示他们可能不会保持高水平。该俱乐部表示,它将在价值10亿美元的体育场(该体育场于2020年开放,是去年世界系列赛的举办地)设置距离座位区。“我认为这很棒,”帕格·兰德鲁姆在露天棒球场对美国广播公司下属的WFAA电视台说。“我们不能永远保持沉默。我不会一辈子生活在恐惧中。”相比之下,纽约大都会队要求参加比赛的球迷要么接受全面疫苗接种,要么出示冠状病毒检测呈阴性的证据。根据路透社对州县数据的分析,上周美国新增新冠肺炎病例增加了5%,超过45万,这是连续第三周感染病例增加。德克萨斯州的数据显示,就每10万人中的冠状病毒病例而言,该州位于美国中部——第25位,截至4月4日为9709例,但这一数字呈下降趋势。根据约翰霍普金斯大学冠状病毒资源中心的数据,孤星州报告称,截至周日的一周内,冠状病毒病例下降了30.7%,新增病例19,490例,而前一周为28,119例。截至周六,该州与新冠肺炎共有2817人住院,为2020年6月以来的最低水平。福奇周二告诉MSNBC,“尽管每个人都有新冠肺炎疲劳症,都想回到正常状态,你知道,你看到德州游骑兵队体育场基本上挤满了人的照片,我们不想过早宣布胜利,因为我们现在有一种病毒,这种病毒传播非常有效。”。“我不太确定,这可能是因为他们在户外做事情,你知道一对一地比较是非常困难的,”福奇谈到得克萨斯州的病例下降时说。“我希望它们继续往下滴答;如果他们这样做了,那就太好了。”福奇说:“我们以前被一些地方的开放愚弄了,然后什么都没发生,但是几个星期后,突然你身上的病例就爆炸了。”。时间会证明德州是否做出了正确的决定。路透社促成了这个故事。




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