An analysis by the mobility data firm Camber Systems found a pair of Buffalo Bills playoff games with fans in attendance did not lead to a rise in COVID-19 cases in Erie County.
The data affirms what New York officials have said publicly: The Bills games could be models for future events this year in which a limited number of people attend events after being tested for COVID-19.
Camber Systems provides data to the COVID-19 Mobility Data Network and reviewed mobility to and from Erie County in the days leading up to and after the playoff games at Bills Stadium.
The result: No discernible rise in COVID cases.
"This movement into the county would typically be associated with rising case numbers within 14 days of non-residents entering. However, data showing a rolling seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in Erie County depict only a peak in the number of cases between January 10-12, with no significant increase following that time span," the analysis found.
"This data does not indicate a correlation between the county caseload and the two Bills games -- in fact, the two-day peak is more likely to be attributed to travel around the holiday season."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week provided new detials for plans to revive some in-person events in 2021 as the COVID-19 vaccine continues to roll out across the country. The state is backing 300 pop-up performing arts events over 100 days with the goal of eventually re-opening Broadway theaters after being closed since last spring.
But outdoor events, like sports with mask-wearing fans, may be easier in the shorter term to bring back. On a smaller scale, occupancy-limited weddings capped at 150 people will be able to return March 15, with testing of guests in place.