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Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Epidemiologist Zachary Binney on What’s Gone Wrong with MLB’s COVID Response—and Whether it Can Be Fixed

Tayler: I wanted to go back to contact tracing, that there was an element of how they had defined it and conducted it that you didn’t feel great about.

Binney: According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the Marlins tried to use contact tracing as an excuse for playing against the Phillies last Sunday. That really disgusted me, because you should’ve taken a step back and said, “We have four cases, we need to think that there’s an outbreak, we should not be playing this game until we have a stronger sense of whether there is one or isn’t.” Contact tracing works best if you have one case and you want to identify people you needed to immediately quarantine. That doesn’t seem to be what the use was with the Marlins. It was [perverse] to be like, if we didn’t identify anyone in contact tracing, they must be fine. And that is really not how you should be thinking about it. It’s a piece of a broader puzzle. That made me pretty angry.

The other thing I’m worried about is that we’re getting reports on the investigation into what happened in Miami and St. Louis, and the team doing the investigating is the same MLB department that’s handling things like sign stealing. That’s not an outbreak investigation. I hope they have some actual epidemiological expertise in the groups that are doing the investigating and that those people are being listened to and that they have a very strong hand in writing up the report and the recommendations for MLB.

Tayler: Based on what you know, do you think that MLB is listening to the people with expertise in this area and following the recommendations?

Binney: Rob Manfred is not speaking like an epidemiologist. Beyond that, I really don’t want to speculate, because I don’t know. I know they’ve engaged epidemiologists as experts, Dr. Ali Khan at the University of Nebraska most notably. But we really haven’t heard anything from him in months. So it’s hard to judge how many public health and epidemiology experts they may be listening to. But even what we would recommend in an ideal world is not necessarily what MLB is going to do. We may recommend a bubble, and they may say, that’s just impossible.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 04, 2020 at 10:57 AM | 8 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: coronavirus

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   1. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 04, 2020 at 09:04 PM (#5967912)
The NFL is using proximity monitors to help automate that, which I think is actually very interesting, and I applaud them for their innovation on that front. I don’t know what MLB is using. My guess would be asking.

Shock collars for players?
Now they’re saying they need compliance officers, which I guess is someone who will be in the traveling party. Whose duties are you adding that on top of? So I’m dubious about how successful that’s going to be. He’s the guy who has to be the buzzkill.

Also, when it fails, the roadkill.
One thing I will say is that there’s a lot of focus on high fives, and I get it, but that’s not something I’m that worried about, because that’s very quick passing contact. If I had to guess, I think we have a lot more reason to be worried about guys sitting in the dugout talking with each other, and more to the point, what happens inside in the clubhouse and at team hotels, where guys are spending extended periods of time together. I think that’s where most of the spread is happening.

when you think about it, who's gonna lick the palm of a batting glove?
   2. ramifications of an exciting 57i66135 Posted: August 04, 2020 at 10:05 PM (#5967921)
   3. Walt Davis Posted: August 05, 2020 at 02:17 AM (#5967951)
when you think about it, who's gonna lick the palm of a batting glove?

I doubt it's much risk but it's essentially the advice they give about masks. One thing we've learned in the pandemic is that apparently we have been walking around covered in other people's mucus and saliva all the time. So wearing a mask might help you avoid catching it but the outside of the mask will be covered in whatever would have covered your face so touching it (then touching eyes, etc.) is to be avoided as much as possible. Batting gloves are presumably as covered with it as a mask is and I suppose there's some chance of transfer from one glove to the next. So you know, don't use your teeth to start pulling off you glove and while you can use one gloved hand to remove the first glove, the second one ... We need glove compliance coaches that wear gloves to remove players' gloves.

But obviously catching it off clothing is a pretty minimal risk or we'd all be infected by now. As the quoted bit says, it's (mainly) extended exposure indoors with an infected person. Clubhouse, hotels, buses, planes, dugouts, bullpens. (Also casinos, strip clubs, dance clubs, infected prostitutes, meatpacking plants all best to avoid.)
   4. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: August 05, 2020 at 07:52 AM (#5967955)
He’s the guy who has to be the buzzkill.
Why'd he assume it's a man's job?
   5. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 05, 2020 at 10:41 AM (#5967986)
We need glove compliance coaches that wear gloves to remove players' gloves.
Would they also have to come out and re-tighten them for the batter after every ####### pitch?
   6. tshipman Posted: August 05, 2020 at 12:18 PM (#5967992)
The other thing I’m worried about is that we’re getting reports on the investigation into what happened in Miami and St. Louis, and the team doing the investigating is the same MLB department that’s handling things like sign stealing. That’s not an outbreak investigation. I hope they have some actual epidemiological expertise in the groups that are doing the investigating


Don't worry, everyone's an armchair epidemiologist now.
   7. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 05, 2020 at 12:20 PM (#5967994)
nomar garciaparra would've been a super spreader.
   8. Mayor Blomberg Posted: August 05, 2020 at 12:44 PM (#5967996)
One thing we've learned in the pandemic is that apparently we have been walking around covered in other people's mucus and saliva all the time.

Breakfast? Maybe later.

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