So… the Game Is Still On?
The Washington Nationals’ 21-year-old outfielder Juan Soto has tested positive for Covid-19, and will not be playing the opening game against the New York Yankees tonight. The game will continue as planned, despite the fact that Soto has been practicing with the team until today when he got the test results back. He will need to test negative twice over the span of more than 24 hours in order to play again. The DCist reports:
Nationals’ General Manager Mike Rizzo told reporters Thursday afternoon that the outfielder is asymptomatic and has tested negative several times over the last few weeks. Soto got a positive result earlier this morning on a test he took two days ago, Rizzo said.
“I think you have to take a business-as-usual type of approach to it, just like any other injury during the season,” Rizzo said.
Soto was practicing with the team up until he received his results this morning. The team also was tested today, but won’t receive their results until after tonight’s game.
This is the second time Covid-19-related decisions by the MLB have raised eyebrows. As the Washington Post reported on July 9, the MLB charted flights for players in the Dominican Republic at the beginning of the month so they could prepare for the coming season in the U.S. (including Soto and several other Nationals players). But the MLB did not test the players beforehand and the Post reported that “multiple” players tested positive for Covid-19 afterward.
It’s unclear how the Nationals are determining with certainty that none of the other players have Covid-19 or could develop the disease, especially since the remaining players reportedly will not get test results back until after the game. And importantly, let’s not forgot who is supposed to throw the first pitch at this game—Anthony Fauci, MD, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert.