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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Will MLB’s Testing Plan Sink Its Season?

“The biggest issue is a delay in getting results back,” says Andrew Pekosz, a professor of immunology and microbiology at Johns Hopkins. “Obviously, shipping samples, having them analyzed and then having the data sent back is all going to put extra time in between a test and telling someone the results.”

But the need to build in shipping time and the potential for delays are not the only obstacles. By relying on a single lab, MLB has streamlined its system, but it’s also centralized its risk: If there’s a problem that causes a backlog, it will affect all teams’ tests. And SMRTL, as a drug-testing laboratory, is now getting accustomed with new instruments and test methods, which can increase the chances of those problems.

“I was surprised that they decided to use a drug testing laboratory,” says Pinsky. “If they had to partner with a single reference laboratory, I think that they should do it with one that has experience with molecular diagnostics for infectious diseases, rather than a doping lab.”

In other words, for everything to go smoothly, MLB will need good sample collection (no more testers who fail to come to the stadium), no shipping delays (luckily, there’s not another holiday weekend until Labor Day), and minimal disruptions at the laboratory (which, again, does not traditionally do this type of testing). That’s without getting into the accuracy of the test itself, or the lack of any clearly designated back-up test sites, or the fact that every-other-day testing with a one-day turnaround still leaves time for the virus to be potentially transmitted.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 11, 2020 at 04:01 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: coronavirus

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   1. John Northey Posted: July 11, 2020 at 08:29 PM (#5962360)
The biggest killer imo is players not willing to do what it takes. Here in Toronto we have players getting mad (Travis Shaw the most vocal) about the fact they would be locked down for the season up here - Canada has very few cases now and we don't want to see a stack of cases via players going to US hotspots (Florida for example) then bringing the disease back here. We've had under 37k total cases in Ontario (the province Ontario is in) which Florida is getting every 4 days now. Daily cases are around 100 now here. Canada as a whole has had 107k cases total from day 1, which the US has beaten every 2 days this month - we are smaller, but not THAT much smaller.
   2. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: July 12, 2020 at 11:03 AM (#5962404)
We've got about 290 million more people down here on about the same amount of soil.

Anyways, players should be mature enough to handle some inconveniences for two months. If not, opt out.
   3. Jay Seaver Posted: July 12, 2020 at 02:25 PM (#5962423)
We've got about 290 million more people down here on about the same amount of soil.

In a strict average sense, but (I forget the exact numbers), something like 80% of Canada's population lives within 200 miles of the US border. For the bulk of the population, the two countries are roughly as densely-populated.

players should be mature enough to handle some inconveniences for two months.

Sure, but it's maybe worth a few moments' thought to consider how Canada's (sensible!) quarantine rules are going to disproportionately impact various AL/NL East teams. If you've got to start a new 14-day clock every time you cross the border, some East teams (like the Red Sox, who have one series there) will be under strict quarantine for 17 days (3 in Canada, presumably 14 back home), while Blue Jays players never get out of the house/hotel except for maybe a few days at the end of camp aside from team shuttles to the park or airport. That's gotta seem like a lot, especially if the union and league have been mostly describing the average scenario.
   4. Astroenteritis Posted: July 12, 2020 at 10:32 PM (#5962497)
Will MLB's Testing Plan Sink Its Season?

Its season already has a gash in the hull from the iceberg and everything being discussed is just rearranging deck chairs.

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