Copa America Tied to 41 Positive COVID-19 Tests

The Brazilian health ministry has tied 41 COVID-19 cases to the 2021 Copa America, less than a week after the tournament began.

The ministry said in a statement Tuesday that 31 players or team staff and 10 workers have contracted the virus as a result of the tournament, which kicked off Sunday in Brasilia. Brazil won the opening match 3-0 over Venezuela after 12 members of the Venezuelan traveling party tested positive for COVID-19.

There have been 2,927 COVID-19 tests for COVID-19 conducted at the tournament thus far.

Brazil’s decision to host the Copa America on two weeks’ notice has led to widespread criticism because the country is yet to get COVID-19 under control. Brazil ranks second behind only the United States in COVID-related deaths and is far behind the U.S. in terms of vaccination rates. Only around 11 percent of Brazil’s population is fully vaccinated.

Argentina previously dropped out of hosting the tournament amid its own concerns with the virus. Colombia was previously dropped as a host because of ongoing civil unrest.

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has opposed social distancing and shutdowns despite the county’s inability to quell the virus. Leading scientists have said social distancing and wearing masks around others are the best ways to curb the spread of COVID-19 without vaccination.

The Copa America is set to run until July 10.

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