July 27, 2020

Manfred: Protocol Was Followed With Marlins; Will Proceed With Games On Wednesday If Tests From Monday Are Negative (One Infectious Disease Expert Called That Decision "Absolutely Insane" & Literally The "Stupidest Possible Plan")

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak among the Marlins, in an interview with Tom Verducci on the MLB Network.

Manfred said that if additional tests of the Marlins players are acceptable, the Marlins and Orioles would play on Wednesday in Baltimore. MLB may receive test results from the Marlins and Phillies late Monday night.
We're waiting to see exactly what we get in terms of test results before we make a decision. Right now, the only thing that's firm is if the test results result in negatives for the rest of the [Marlins], we would play at least two in Baltimore on Wednesday and Thursday.
That plan was described as both "absolutely insane" and the "stupidest possible plan" by Dr. Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist at Emory University's Oxford College. Binney urged MLB:
Show even a shred of self-reflection and humanity. At least fake it. Who are your medical and public health advisors? Where are they?
Binney thinks MLB must make sure to confine the "ongoing outbreak" to one (or two) teams - and should order the Marlins and Phillies to stay in quarantine for at least five days to see if more cases appear. Even if all the tests from Monday come back negative, Binney said "that's no guarantee that the virus isn't sneaking through that locker room right now".
The Marlins Timeline: Testing on Friday revealed one positive result on Saturday. Testing on Saturday revealed three more positives on Sunday.

What then happened under the protocols, was we did contact tracing on all four positives; there were a small number of players who met the CDC guidelines. They were quarantined; we ordered additional testing, we did symptom checks. We did temperature checks and decided to proceed with the game on Sunday.
The testing on Sunday revealed 10 positive results on Monday. ... Did MLB also do contact tracing on that "small number" of players? Also, "symptom checks" are worthless if players are asymptomatic.

1 ... 3 ... 10 ... What will Monday's tests reveal?

Manfred said he spoke with all 30 owners during a conference call on Monday and the possibility of canceling the season or even putting it on hold was not discussed.
We talked about the situation. I think most of the owners realize that we built protocols anticipating that we would have positive tests at some point during the season, that the protocols were built in order to allow us to continue to play through those positives. I think there was support for the notion that we believe that the protocols are adequate to keep our players safe. ... I remain optimistic that the protocols are strong enough that it will allow us to continue to play -- even through an outbreak like this -- and complete our season.
Manfred was asked what it would take for him to consider shutting down a team or a portion of the schedule:
I think that a team losing a number of players that rendered it completely non-competitive would be an issue that we would have to address and have to think about making a change. Whether that was shutting down a part of the season, the whole season, that depends on the circumstances. Same thing with respect to league-wide; you get to a certain point league-wide where it does become a health threat and we certainly would shut down at that point.
Keep in mind that 40% of the Marlins roster has already tested positive.

I have not seen any statements from the Players Association, which seems odd. Perhaps I missed them.

Manfred said the decisions that have been made are the right ones. Iin every case. Maybe it's me, but from just reading his quotes, I could not help but get a certain Trumpian vibe of obstinacy.

Seeing the decisions from Manfred's conference call with the owners, such as the owners intending to "redouble health directives" and "reinforce on-field behavior prohibitions" against high fives and fist bumps only confirms the feeling.

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