BREAKING: Coronavirus outbreak at Phillies camp — 8 positive tests. Story herehttps://t.co/YhBRXdgksX
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyNBCS) June 19, 2020
Currently, five Phillies players and and three staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus. Multiple team personnel including players and coaches are awaiting test results. The identities of those testing positive is unknown. This is the first confirmed outbreak in MLB since the pandemic began.
The Philadelphia Phillies training facility is located in Clearwater, Florida. Around forty staff, including major and minor league players, are living in the Clearwater area. Unfortunately, there are no rules in place preventing MLB staff from interacting with the public. Very recently, the state of Florida has seen a massive spike in COVID-19 cases. The state reported 3,822 new cases just this morning.
Managing partner of the Phillies John Middleton stated:
”The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority. And as a result of of those confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed to all players, coaches and staff. The facilities will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected.”
Phillies statement: pic.twitter.com/kJjl6U7a1l
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 19, 2020
The news of this outbreak couldn’t have come at a worse time for MLB. Both Major League Baseball owners and the Players Association have had ongoing negotiations for the past several weeks. As things stand, the players have proposed a shortened 70-game season to begin July 19th. The hope is that an agreement will come soon so the season gets underway as quickly as possible. However, both MLB and the union have stated that health and safety is the number one priority.
The fear now is that this incident will dampen what is already a rocky negotiation. It is very possible that this will not be a one-time report and other teams and facilities will be affected. There is no way to guarantee that, even with all of the current precautions, an outbreak can be avoided. This current outbreak could potentially carry over in to other sports as well with the NBA tentatively set to resume on July 31st.
Clearly, this coronavirus outbreak makes a potential restart much more unlikely. However, the obvious hope is that this incident is an isolated one and can be dealt with quickly. None of those testing positive have been hospitalized or are in serious condition. Perhaps this is merely a hiccup in the road that leads to the start of the season. But, it will be difficult to remain optimistic if more reports like this surface.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images