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SEC football comes to grinding stop due to COVID as experts warn new peak ahead

Four SEC games scheduled for this weekend have been cancelled as COVID cases surge across the country.

Alabama vs. LSU, Texas A&M at Tennessee, Auburn vs. Mississippi State, and Georgia vs. Missouri have all been postponed because of a combination of positive tests, contact tracing, and quarantining of players.

Three SEC games are still scheduled for Saturday: Vanderbilt vs. Kentucky, Arkansas vs. Florida, and South Carolina vs. Mississippi.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told ESPN that despite canceling more than half of the games this weekend, “we are going to keep moving forward. We do not get to just throw our hands and not stop trying, but we’ll have to come together depending on how much disruption occurs and we’ll have to react to it.”

Some teams will likely not be able to reschedule postponed games. For games that can be rescheduled, all 14 SEC athletic directors have agreed to makeup games on Dec. 19, the day of the conference championship, for any teams not participating in the title game. LSU already has two games to makeup with Alabama and Florida, both of which are likely to play the SEC championship.

Alabama reported an additional 1,368 cases on Wednesday and an additional 68 deaths attributed to COVID-19, though many of the deaths were from August or before and just now reported into the Department of Public Health’s system. Hospitalizations in Alabama are trending to rise back to their summer highs of 1600 patient daily. Across the US, hospitalizations and cases are also quickly rising to new records as colder weather will places people indoors and in closer proximity.

Epidemiologists have warned of another peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and have referred to it as a “COVID hell” according to CNBC. While promising news on a vaccine was reported earlier this week, it will still likely be a few months before the vaccine is approved and several months before enough of the vaccine is distributed to make a positive impact.

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