A COVID-19 outbreak at Yale University began early in the week, as six men’s hockey players tested positive for the virus, spurring the school to revert from Phase II of its virus protocol back to Phase 0.
As the Yale Daily News reported, the restrictions of Phase II were more stringent than what’s being seen through a lot of college sports and a lot of America right now. The rules included a maximum of two hours a day of “sport-specific activity and/or weight training and conditioning,” social distancing during all activities, and a maximum of 10 people for any in-person activities.
Yale was taking a cautious approach, in a league that has canceled fall sports, in the state of Connecticut, which until this week had been doing pretty well with controlling the pandemic. New Haven County in particular has had a lower prevalence of the virus, with 96 cases — 5.3 per 100,000 residents — reported between September 27 and October 10, according to state data.
And now almost the entire Yale men’s hockey team — 18 players “out of the 19 team members currently enrolled and living in New Haven” — have tested positive.
The entire university has now gone from green to yellow on its coronavirus protocols, as the state considers tightening its own restrictions, because of an outbreak that came from an athletic program where policies were in place and mandates were being followed, in a place where the risk appeared low.
Meanwhile, there are thousands of fans at playoff baseball games in Texas, watch parties for those games back in Georgia, college football being played with varying amounts of attendance across the country, and the NFL chugging along and making up its schedule as it goes along while players test positive on a near-daily basis. Oh, and the president keeps holding superspreader rallies.
The fact that even in the places where there’s been progress on COVID, there are signs of another wave of the virus, should be enough to take steps to prevent uncontrolled and overwhelming spread, now. It’s the biohazard version of “a stitch in time saves nine.”
Yale is doing the right thing by stepping back from athletics and stepping up campus-wide protocols. Nick Saban is coaching Alabama on Saturday night in front of thousands of fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Good luck to everyone, you’re gonna need it.