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Count 'em up

General

The rate of new COVID-19 cases hit a high in the US this weekend, with over 30,000 new cases reported yesterday alone. Turns out, it’s not just Donald Trump’s campaign staffers who are testing positive: quite a few athletes are among the count, too.

June 22, 2020
MARK THOR/ORLANDO PRIDE
MARK THOR/ORLANDO PRIDE

The GIST: The rate of new COVID-19 cases hit a high in the US this weekend, with over 30,000 new cases reported yesterday alone. Turns out, it’s not just Donald Trump’s campaign staffers who are testing positive: quite a few athletes are among the count, too.

Oh no. Who?: Because leagues are bound to respect player/patient confidentiality, we’re not totally sure. That said, leagues are releasing numbers. Since June 8th, 11 NHL players have tested positive, and within the last week, 40 cases in the MLB were confirmed.

  • Last week, ahead of this Saturday’s return-to-play Challenge Cup tournament, an NWSL player tested positive, and more MLS and NFL players were confirmed positive over the weekend, too.
  • In NCAA football, there’s been a ridiculous number of confirmed cases over the past few weeks. At least 30 players at Louisiana State University (LSU) are currently in quarantine (only some have tested positive, while the rest are awaiting test results) and 23 players at Clemson University have been confirmed positive.

Why are so many players suddenly testing positive?: A few reasons, including increased testing, lax rules and a surge in travel as players make their way back to their team’s city. And this increase is going to pose another big problem: as play resumes, it will become increasingly difficult for leagues to maintain their players’ medical confidentiality.

What do you mean?: Well, if someone like LeBron James, for example, tests positive in the middle of the NBA Playoffs and suddenly disappears, people are going to ask questions. We’re already seeing it in action.

  • Take Nick Watney. The PGA golfer tested negative on Tuesday, played the first round of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage, and then tested positive on Friday, causing him to withdraw from the tournament already in progress. He had no choice but to confirm his diagnosis publicly.
  • And tennis player Grigor Dimitrov pulled out of his match in an exhibition tournament in Croatia yesterday after testing positive just hours earlier. Seems like a slippery slope, no?