With COVID-19 variant positives, Michigan pauses athletics

25 Janvier, 2021, 09:24 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Ann Arbor News 2020

The Michigan Daily's Ethan Sears reports that the state health department is shutting down Michigan athletics for at least two weeks, in order to prevent an outbreak of the more contagious British variant of COVID-19. "Michiganders have followed the science and worked hard to slow the spread of COVID-19, resulting in dramatic improvements in our case numbers, deaths, hospitalizations and positivity rates".

All athletic team members including the student-athletes, coaches, and team staff have been ordered to isolate and quarantine starting today, January 23rd, until February 7th. That was one of four athletic events the school had scheduled. Games with IN (1/30), Northwestern (2/3), and MSU (2/6), would also presumably be postponed due to the shutdown. The men are ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press poll after opening 13-1, including lopsided wins over three ranked Big Ten teams since New Year's Day.

It left the women with six games postponed: at home against Purdue on Sunday, at Michigan State on Tuesday, vs. Michigan State on Thursday, at Rutgers on Feb. 1, at home against Minnesota on Feb. 4 and at home against Maryland on Feb. 7.

According to the CDC, this new COVID-19 B.1.1.7 variant is still being studied and so far "there is no evidence that these variants cause more severe illness or increased risk of death". This was possibly the last dual meet between Michigan and Michigan State after MSU announced its decision to cut the swimming and diving program in October. New director Elizabeth Hertel was promoted Friday from the deputy position at MDHHS. "But with so many unknowns about this variant of COVID-19, we must do everything we can to minimize the spread among student-athletes, coaches, staff, and to the student-athletes at other schools".

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While B.1.1.7.is believed to be up to 50% more contagious than the original coronavirus strain, there's no indication that it's deadlier. Therefore, a pause of all athletic activities and a closure of all U-M athletic facilities are being taken to strengthen the public health intervention.

All in-person training sessions, practices and games are postponed and student-athletes, coaches and staff members "must immediately isolate/quarantine until further notice", a period that could last until February 7, according to a late-night release from the school.

The first MI case of the coronavirus mutation, known as B.1.1.7., was detected on Saturday in a Washtenaw County woman who had recently traveled to the U.K. On Thursday, officials announced that the mutation had been detected in two additional women who were in close contact with the first. The university will be carefully considering additional mitigation measures.

MHSS says it believes it's possible that there are more B.1.1.7 cases in MI that have not yet been identified.



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