Health Experts Caution Return To High School Sports

Oklahoma City Public Schools said indoor sports will return this winter.

However, public health officials warn that could be dangerous.

“Amateur sports, high school sports are set up for a potential spread of the virus,” OU Medicine Chief COVID-19 Officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said.

Dr. Bratzler said watching the NBA, NFL and college football is very different than the decision to sending high schoolers back.

“Remember, those players are tested very, very frequently,” Dr. Bratzler said. “The NBA in the bubble test the players every single day. The Big 12 (Conference) requires all of the athletes be tested at least three times a week. Primary schools, secondary schools, high schools -- they don't have the luxury of doing the testing.”

According to the winter sports plan, Oklahoma City middle schools will not have fans in the stands. High school gym capacity will be limited to 25 percent. Temperature checks and facemasks will be required.

“We are not doing a good job right now slowing the spread of this virus,” Dr. Bratzler said.

Dr. Bratzler said current trends paint a grim outlook leading into the holiday season.

“We could be at 1,400 deaths in Oklahoma and if we continue to see 50 to 60 new deaths per week in our state, if we don't slow the spread of this particular virus, we could easily get there,” Dr. Bratzler said.

A report on how the state plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccines was due to the CDC on Friday.

“When you look at almost every recommendation, it will be frontline responders, paramedics, nurses, doctors, people who are taking care of COVID(-19) patients, they will be the first priority for the vaccine,” Dr. Bratzler said.

News 9 requested the vaccine distribution plan Friday but did not receive it from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.