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How Covid has hit a QUARTER Premier League players while Norwich and Manchester City have been hit hardest

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Covid’s huge impact on the Premier League has been revealed after a Post on Sunday An audit found that at least 130 first-team players tested positive for the disease during the pandemic.

That figure equates to 25 percent of the 527 players registered in the top flight this weekend and has been set in conjunction with the government, the Premier League and fan groups who are all encouraging greater vaccine adoption.

Only seven clubs in the division have reportedly doubled over half of their squads.

More than 130 Premier League players test positive for Covid, with Norwich the worst

Our survey found that 14 of Norwich’s 27-man squad have had Covid, or 52 per cent, with Manchester City being the next most affected club, with 11 out of 25 players (44 per cent) in that category.

More than 25 per cent of Arsenal, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Manchester United and Chelsea teams have certainly had Covid – with between seven and 10 players in their current rosters.

Four of the clubs with confirmed vaccination rates of more than 90 per cent of staff – Brentford, Southampton, Wolves and Leeds – are among the clubs with lower Covid rates.

Four Premier League managers have been confirmed to have had the disease: Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta, Brentford’s Thomas Frank, Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers and West Ham’s David Moyes.

Coronavirus makes no distinction and some of the most famous players currently playing in the Premier League have had it from Cristiano Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Edinson Cavani at Manchester United to Mo Salah and Sadio Mane at Liverpool, to Riyad Mahrez, Kyle Walker and Ferran Torres at Manchester City against N’Golo Kante, Christian Pulisic and Ruben Loftus-Cheek at Chelsea.

To date, the league has conducted 129,093 Covid tests on football club personnel, including players. It is now common practice for as many as 100 people, including players, coaches and other support staff, to be tested twice a week at each club.

Thomas Frank van Brentford and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta have both contracted the coronavirus

Thomas Frank van Brentford and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta have both contracted the coronavirus

There have been 331 positive tests under the auspices of the PL, but that figure has not been broken down into players and others. The MoS estimates that there have been more than 160 players, taking into account the 130 from our audit and other known cases of players previously in the league.

At Aston Villa, for example, 10 players tested positive in one day in one major outbreak last season, and not all of them are still with the club. There were about 10 cases at West Bromwich Albion in the PL last season and they are not in our new numbers; nor have PL fallen at Fulham and Sheffield United last season.

Our audit does not include players who think they probably had Covid early on but were never tested, such as City’s Kevin De Bruyne.

Nor are dozens of players who tested positive in recent times but are not in the league now, such as Willian and Alex Runarsson, who both tested positive in August as Arsenal players but are currently not with the club.

It’s impossible to say whether a confirmed 25 percent infection rate is particularly high compared to the general population, because even official infection rates among the general public are fuzzy.

Liverpool's duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mane were both isolated from positive tests

Liverpool’s duo Mo Salah and Sadio Mane were both isolated from positive tests

There are 7.8 million positive tests in the UK out of a population of 67 million, equivalent to 11.6 percent of people. But the real figure is much higher.

During the first wave, relatively few infections were picked up due to lack of testing, many asymptomatic cases have gone undiagnosed, and credible studies of Covid-induced antibodies vary.

The Premier League rightly states that all players have already been stung or are tested twice a week to show that they are not infected. But there remains a drive to get players to get the vaccine, not least because some have been hit hard by the disease.

Newcastle’s Karl Darlow was hospitalized after contracting Covid during the Euro 2020 final at Wembley. Darlow’s club mates Isaac Hayden and Jamal Lewis were also hit, with manager Steve Bruce saying Hayden had been beaten ‘to hell’.

Brentford managed to keep most of their players free from the virus and many have been vaccinated

Brentford managed to keep most of their players free from the virus and many have been vaccinated

Tyrone Mings of Aston Villa had the virus towards the start of the pandemic and had a form of long-term Covid. “I was so sick,” he said. ‘It was horrible. I had all the symptoms, and I lost my smell and taste from that day for eight months.’

Brighton’s Adam Lallana contracted the illness in January and said afterwards: ‘I was bedridden for a week – it just wiped me out completely.’

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba had the illness in August 2020. “I would tell the fitness coach I feel strange,” he said after he recovered. ‘It’s not me. I tire very quickly and am out of breath very quickly.’

Chelsea’s Kai Havertz was caught by the virus in November and said it hit him “very hard” and had been in bed for a week “and everything hurt”.

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