Up front, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 is a scary, dangerous, deadly illness, so any positive tests are an alarming thing. Yes, many people who get the disease don’t have serious symptoms, but as we learned with Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, even otherwise healthy, young individuals can have a terrible experience.
So when MLB revealed the results of its intake tests today, I don’t want to “celebrate” a surprisingly low number of positives. That feels wrong. But I do feel like I have to provide context that this result is far lower than what we’ve seen out of other sports:
— MLB Communications (@MLB_PR) July 3, 2020
I don’t know anything more than the collection of random studies and data that I’ve read, but it sure seems like if you took a random sampling of people and tested them today, you’d expect higher than a 1.2% hit rate, given the incidence of asymptomatic/low-symptom carriers. I’ve seen studies that suggest there are as many as 10 times the infections out there than are actually being detected as positive tests. Again, I don’t really know anything at an epidemiological level here. I just know that those of us who follow this from a sports perspective were expecting a lot more positive tests than this. Maybe this is a good result. Or maybe we were just wrong all along.
We don’t yet know for sure which teams have players that have tested positive, though the dots can be connected as players go on the Injured List without a listed “injury.” The Cubs, as of yet, have not placed any players on the IL.
The players and staff who’ve tested positive will be quarantined until they test negative twice, and the hope is that they were kept separate from the rest of their teams throughout this intake process.