With the help of some truly potent pooches, the Miami Heat will be able to allow some ticket holders in to watch their games provided they get the A-okay from a team of COVID-19 sniffing dogs.
Several countries have already trained dogs to sniff out COVID-19, and the combination of masks, socially distanced seating maps, and the canines, mean around 2,000 lucky fans get to cheer on their home team next week.
In April, Good News Network reported on the progress of a British medical charity that had successfully trained dogs to smell the infamous virus, while ESPN reports claim the success rate of the Heat’s sniffers are around 94%
It’s not a perfect detection rate, so the Heat staff are augmenting the COVID-19 prevention measures with temp checks, mask wearing, cashless-only transactions, isolated seating patterns, and reduced food and beverage sales. If people are allergic or afraid of dogs, the Heat are even offering rapid antigen tests which they say will produce results in 45 minutes.
“If you think about it, detection dogs are not new,” Matthew Jafarian, the Heat’s executive vice president for business strategy, told ESPN. “You’ve seen them in airports, they’ve been used in mission-critical situations by the police and the military. We’ve used them at the arena for years to detect explosives.”
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Indeed, dogs have been trained to detect everything from bombs and narcotics to cancers, low-blood sugar, and even depression. Viral diseases like malaria and COVID have also been trained.
The first game will be at home against the LA Clippers, while Monday is the first game when season ticket holders will be allowed to claim their seats, when the arena will be at a little less than 10% capacity.
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