It’s been almost four months of no baseball due to the coronavirus, and on July 23, the defending champion Washington National took the field against the New York Yankees.
The excitement over the game’s return was marred by a Nationals superstar being diagnosed with COVID-19 just hours before the first pitch.
“We put Juan Soto on the COVID I-L today,” said Mike Rizzo, the general manager for the Nationals. “He’s asymptomatic. He’s following all the major league protocol.”
Under MLB rules, Soto will self-quarantine for the next 14 days and he’s only allowed to return to the action after back-to-back days of testing negative for the virus.
Dr. Michael Sullivan is the Chief Medical Officer at Covenant Healthcare and says news like today’s is something baseball fans are going to have to get used to.
“I think you’re gonna hear more and more of this,” said Sullivan. “As opposed to the NBA where there’s a controlled bubble where everyone knows who’s coming in and coming out, with baseball, these platers are out in their communities and lots of these baseball teams are in places where COVID-19 incidents are rising as we speak.”
Sullivan says because of baseball’s strict COVID-19 safety rules like daily testing and contact tracing, he believes the league can avoid outbreaks that would potentially lead to games or the season being cancelled.
“We’re probably gonna have to live with this at least through the end of this year,” said Sullivan. “Maybe into next year. Until we get a proven vaccine that can really protect the entire population, this is the way business is gonna have to be done for all of these sports.”