The ability of sports leagues to begin or resume their seasons will depend largely upon the capacity to test players, staff members and officials for the coronavirus, and the NBA is reportedly planning to do so daily. Apparently Major League Baseball is considering a different approach.
Bradford William Davis of the New York Daily News reported on Sunday that MLB teams have had surprisingly little contact with their local health departments about the potential start of the 2020 season. Of the 28 city and county health departments contacted by the Daily News, only five confirmed that they had any correspondence with their local MLB teams about health and safety protocols. Several health leaders also expressed concern over the protocols MLB is planning to have in place — or lack thereof.
More specifically, Milwaukee Health Department commissioner Dr. Jeanette Kowalik told Davis she has had positive discussions with the Brewers but is concerned about MLB’s COVID-19 testing plan. The league is reportedly not planning to test players every day.
“If you get tested, say tomorrow, and it comes back negative 24 hours later, you could be positive the next day,” Kowalik said. “Anytime you’re leaving the compound and being around other people you may be exposed to the virus. So, I think, again, three times a week, I don’t know where the logic or guidelines are coming from for that.”
The availability of tests has been a concern worldwide since the coronavirus outbreak first erupted. Testing has increased dramatically in the United States over the past several months, and the recent details we heard about the NBA’s resumption of play indicate the league is confident enough tests will be available to administer them to players each day. It’s unclear if MLB does not have the means to do that or if officials simply don’t think it’s necessary.