Sports

As First K.C. Fan Tests Positive, We’re Faced with Growing Power of the Surveillance State


Lucky fans in Kansas City got to see the world champs, boo unity, AND maybe get exposed to someone with coronavirus.

Lucky fans in Kansas City got to see the world champs, boo unity, AND maybe get exposed to someone with coronavirus.
Image: Getty

Super Bowl champion Kansas City was one of two NFL teams, along with Jacksonville, to allow fans to attend their Week 1 game. The official attendance was 15,895 to see Patrick Mahomes and Co. dismantle the Houston Texans last Thursday night.

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And, hey, good news, 99.994% of those fans have not officially tested positive for coronavirus.

The bad news is, one “guest who attended Thursday night’s game at Arrowhead Stadium has presented positive for COVID-19,” according to a statement released by the team.

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But, hey, good news, “the contact tracing mechanisms that the club has in place, including parking and ticket scanning data, as well as video record review, indicate that the individual who has presented positive and the individual’s party entered the stadium in compliance with mask mandates.”

But what about everyone that this person may have come into contact with? Even with mask protocol being followed, they’d want to at least get tested, right?

Well, the team says:

“This process allowed the team to identify the other guests sitting with this individual, the service staff with whom this individual may have come in contact with, as well as any other ticket holders near this person at the time of entry into the stadium. Within hours of being notified, the (team was) able to pinpoint the names of the other members of the party as well as detailed information about the path and location of entry, and this information was provided to the Health Department. The tracing capabilities at the stadium allow the extension of communication to learn more about the guest’s activity the days leading up to and after the game Thursday night.”

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This is where things get a little tricky. Someone went to a football game and has coronavirus. A good contact tracing program is in place to try to protect anyone that this person may have had contact with. And that good contact tracing program… sure does have the feeling of living in a surveillance state. Are people aware of how closely they can be tracked upon entry to an NFL stadium? Is this just another case where response to an American catastrophe results in the stripping away of civil liberties? There are a lot of implications here, all left unaddressed as a football team attempts to cover its ass for having allowed a person carrying a deadly virus into its building. Do they know who was in the next bathroom stall over from this person at halftime? Whether they coughed after taking a sip of beer? How close is all of this monitoring, and how do we know it’s only going to be used for contact tracing?

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Anyway, we’ve also got this nugget to deal with: “The individual and the individual’s group were seated in the lower level of the stadium. By design, the stadium’s COVID protocol plan limited potential exposure to a single seating zone within the stadium. All staff with known interactions with the positive case were required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including a mask. Additionally, the protocols in place at the stadium require all attendees to be wearing masks inside the stadium.”

What this means is, “We, the Kansas City football team, followed all the rules, and should not be held liable for anyone’s illness.” What it does not mean, and what it does not say, is that the football team has any interest in whether the virus spread, or getting further testing done for the people in that “single seating zone” or the “staff with known interactions.”

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“Compliance with the protocols remains a key component to making this plan effective,” the team said. “We appreciate the professionalism and diligence of the Health Department and will continue to support its efforts in this matter and throughout the season.”

The best way to support the Kansas City Health Department would be not to have seven more gatherings of 15,895 people, especially as the weather turns cooler and flu season approaches. But that’s not going to happen because Missouri is run by an idiot governor who’s welcoming “the largest bike rally in the Midwest” to Lake of the Ozarks this weekend along with people at NFL games, so appreciating their professionalism and diligence will have to do.

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It’s the new thoughts and prayers.

On Thursday night, Cleveland hosts Cincinnati in the Battle of Ohio, and the team expects 6,000 fans, hoping they will sound like 60,000. This should all go great.

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