College football programs across the country have been dealing with the coronavirus pandemic as student-athletes return to campus for voluntary workouts in an effort to move towards the return of fall sports. Unfortunately for the LSU football program, the outbreak has hit the Tigers in a big way.
According to a report from Sports Illustrated, “at least 30 players” have been forced into quarantine because of COVID-19.
“It’s not surprising we’re seeing the rise right now,” Shelly Mullenix, LSU’s long-time senior associate athletic trainer told SI. “It’s a pandemic. We should not be shocked. The story is that it’s exactly what we said it would be. We were prepared from the get-go for a lot of virus. The good news is we’re seeing subtle virus illness.”
The 30 players either tested positive for COVID-19 or were within contact with someone who had a positive result.
No LSU athlete or staff member has required hospitalization, and a majority of the symptoms have been mild. As for whether the COVID-19 outbreaks could impact whether a 2020 college football season is played, there is still some optimism.
“I don’t know that I feel worse than I did two months ago—I feel better,” Mullenix said. “What I understand from my colleagues around the country and just sharing the numbers is that we’re doing really well. No one is getting really ill and hospitalized. I could see where the train of thought could be, ‘We seem to be moving through this virus.’ For every day, we are learning more information. Part of me feels good. If we were seeing no virus and knew the virus was spiking everywhere, that would not be good.”
The coronavirus outbreak has led to the cancellation or postponing of many large events including The Masters, NCAA Tournament, Coachella, SXSW, the Winter X Games, Stagecoach, Ultra Music Festival in Miami, and more. The NBA, NHL, and MLS have temporarily suspended their seasons.
The coronavirus mainly comes from animals and a majority of those who were infected early either worked at or frequently visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market in Wuhan, according to The Guardian. The virus is similar to Severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) and Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (Mers).
The Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through “droplet transmission.” That means an infected person can pass the virus by sneezing or coughing on another person as well as by direct contact.
While a majority of the cases have been detected in the United States and China — with more than 117,000 deaths in the United States — it has now reached many countries around the world. It has also been confirmed in Italy, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and many other eastern countries.