The NBA immediately suspended its season as soon as one player tested positive for COVID-19, and ever since then, questions have been raised about how pro sports leagues can begin again if a single player’s positive test would require every player exposed to that player to go into isolation. But Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says that won’t stop baseball from playing.
Manfred said on CNN that baseball has a plan in place to quarantine any player who tests positive, and test other players who were in contact with that player, but allow all those other players to keep playing as long as they test negative.
“What we will do is the positive individual will be removed from the rest of the group,” Manfred said, via the Houston Chronicle. “There will be quarantine arrangement in each facility and in each city, and then we’ll do contact tracing for the individuals we believe there was contact with, and we’ll do point of care testing for those individuals to minimize the likelihood that there is a spread.”
Manfred said medical experts told MLB that a full-scale 14-day quarantine of any player exposed to another player who tested positive is not necessary.
Realistically, baseball’s approach is going to have to be the approach that any pro sports league takes if it wants to get started again: If one player testing positive requires every single player on that player’s team, plus every single player on any team that has played against that player, to go into quarantine, it wouldn’t be feasible for a sports league to play its season. The NFL has not said how it would handle a player testing positive, but on that front, the NFL is likely to follow the lead of MLB.