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US: Coronavirus outbreak in Major League Baseball casts doubt over reopening of schools, business

ANI | Updated: Jul 30, 2020 12:40 IST


Washington [US], July 30 (ANI): Days after the reopening experiment began, Major league baseball has been facing a challenge to quell an outbreak which has left over a dozen Miami Marlins players and coaches infected with the coronavirus.
The incident has cast doubt on the US government's plans to reopen the country despite rising cases of coronavirus.
"Look how quickly it spreads, even with all those precautions being taken," Washington Post quoted Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, as saying. "Now, imagine an environment where you have hundreds of young kids present."
Michael T. Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, described the Marlins debacle as a "canary in the coal mine."
"When you have a COVID-19 forest fire going on in your country, you would expect to see this kind of transmission occur," he said. "This is going to continue until we get this under control, as other countries have done."
According to the Washington Post, the Marlins case demonstrates that safety plans are not airtight, especially not in a community with the raging transmission. If a player was exposed, he might not know it until a test result comes back, which means he could participate in a day or two of activities while contagious.
Osterholm said that the virus has the ability to spread anywhere humans assembly from church gatherings to family reunions to bustling bars.

To assume that will suddenly cease, Osterholm said, amounts to wishful thinking. "People are basically trying to defy the laws of viral gravity," he said. "But this is going to keep happening."
While young children appear less vulnerable to the severe effects of COVID-19, scientists still do not fully understand why a small group gets very sick, or how readily an asymptomatic child might transmit the virus.
Jana Billman, a first-grade teacher near Jacksonville, did not seem shocked by the Marlins outbreak. She said she is confident in the safety measures her district has taken and believes teaching students coronavirus prevention measures will not be much different from teaching them the usual age-appropriate basics.
"We're going to wash our hands. We're going to set an alarm and wipe down our desks," Billman said. "I'm a common-sense kind of person. If a student has a cancer patient at home or has asthma, I'm going to be extremely careful with that student. We're not going to be stupid about this."
The business world is struggling with a shifting sense of risk that changes each time an incident like the Marlins outbreak occurs.
Neil Bradley, executive vice president of policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said different industries will have different experiences with the virus and take different steps to control it.
Implementing safety measures such as social distancing has proved more disruptive for businesses that require bringing people together, restaurants, convention centres and hotels, and professional sports, for example, and those where employees must work on-site and sometimes in tight quarters, Bradley said.
MLB thought it also had taken every conceivable step to avoid infections. But the Marlins and their brush with the coronavirus are not an outlier, Osterholm said.
"It just shows how infectious this virus is," he said. "They are a harbinger of things to come." (ANI)

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