This is another one of those rapidly-developing situations, so I’ll be updating as rapidly as new info comes out. The Cubs apparently won’t be playing tonight.
The report from The Athletic:
Per sources, tonight's #STLCards game has been postponed due to further positive Covid test result(s). More details as they become available.
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) August 7, 2020
The Cardinals had been nearly a week clear of positive tests from the outbreak that was first detected last Thursday. Would new positives be an indication that the outbreak wasn’t actually contained, or is this a new situation?
UPDATE: Jesse Rogers confirms Saxon’s report of at least one positive test, and a postponement of tonight’s game. What happens to the rest of the series is TBD, but it’s almost impossible to imagine a scenario where there’s a new positive test but it’s still OK to play tomorrow.
The big question/concern here: is this new positive(s) from the previous outbreak, and somehow went undetected for six+ days? As I understand the testing and how soon it can pick up an infection, that’s not supposed to be possible – but who really knows when it comes to COVID? If that’s what happened, that would be an enormous problem for all of baseball, because it would mean shutting a team down for over a week still isn’t long enough.
Or is this a new, outside-sourced infection, which would present its own problems? First and foremost, how did it happen fresh on the heels of an outbreak?
UPDATE 2: Jon Heyman indicates it is just one player positive test, but concerningly, implies that the Cardinals have already concluded it DID originate with the original outbreak:
Latest Cards positive came after three days of all clean results but through contact tracing wasn’t entirely shocking since this player had been near the others.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 7, 2020
So, did this player fly back on the plane with the team on Wednesday? And if so, how can you know that more players aren’t infected now?
UPDATE 3: While we await more details, I’ve got a moment to breathe and comment on the Cubs implications here. Not playing tonight isn’t a huge deal, though it’ll mean a doubleheader scheduled at some point in the future (if the Cardinals are still going to make up all these games – which, at this point, maybe they won’t, since they’d be looking at 55 games in 51 days, tops). What’s more of an issue is if the whole series gets postponed, which it might, and then you’d be talking about the Cubs off for three days. It can really throw a wrench in rotation preparations, hitters staying sharp, etc. Don’t get me wrong: it’s what has to be done if there’s even a small risk of transmitting/extending an outbreak. But it’s a bummer all around.
UPDATE 4: The game is officially postponed:
MLB makes it official. No word on rest of the series yet. pic.twitter.com/7F6Ukgnisc
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) August 7, 2020
UPDATE 5: More details on the Cardinals process this week, including travel together on Wednesday, and then workouts on the field Wednesday and Thursday:
#stlcards are in the process of undergoing more tests, aggressive contact tracing, in order to determine the score here. Team had consecutive days of no positives — but also activities together. UPDATED NEWS here: https://t.co/C4g2Mn1llm @stltoday #MLB
— Derrick S. Goold (@dgoold) August 7, 2020
The additional testing is underway, and you can do contact tracing for this player – who was near him on the plane, which groups did he work out with at the ballpark, etc. – which might allow you determine it’s highly unlikely he spread the virus further. But is that going to give you confidence to say he’s the only additional guy who wasn’t detected until now? I mean, those are two separate issues. It’s concerning.
UPDATE 6: I would not bet on this doubleheader happening, but just so you know it’s a possibility:
Just updating the numbers here: the #STLCards have 14 positive Covid cases in all, eight of which are players. Testing and contact tracing in the next 24 hours will determine if the rest of this series can be played. Sunday doubleheader in play.
— Mark Saxon (@markasaxon) August 7, 2020
UPDATE 7: There it is. The whole series has been postponed.