Alaska officials say Iditarod race to continue as scheduled

Fabio Berlusconi of Lomazzo, Italy, leaves the start line before the ceremonial start of the...
Fabio Berlusconi of Lomazzo, Italy, leaves the start line before the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)(Mark Thiessen | AP)
Published: Sep. 21, 2020 at 2:53 PM AKDT
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(AP) - Alaska race officials say the 2021 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will continue as scheduled.

So far, 61 teams have signed up for the 1,000-mile (1,609-kilometer) competition, which is expected to begin in March 2021.

Race officials say they will work with an infectious disease epidemiologist from Emory University in Atlanta to develop proper precautions in light the coronavirus pandemic.

“Much like the 1925 serum run to Nome, the Iditarod has shown that it too can persevere through a pandemic,” race officials said in a statement on Friday.

A number of details about the race still need to be decided. One primary point of contention is whether teams will stop in remote communities along their route, as they traditionally would, Alaska Public Media reported.

The Iditarod is consulting with local health officials, veterinarians and village leaders in addition to the Emory epidemiologist.

The state reported 112 new confirmed cases and one new confirmed death on Friday, according to the state Department of Health. There have been 45 deaths from the coronavirus in the state since the pandemic began.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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