LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The much more contagious COVID strains already are posing a threat to sports and group activities.
It’s happening as one university is dealing with the new variant spread, and suspending all athletics for the next two weeks. A big Saturday basketball matchup in the Big Ten was postponed as Indiana was notified over the weekend that its scheduled game against Michigan isn’t happening. While the NCAA has gotten used to occasional pauses in play, this time, student-athletes tested positive for the new UK variant.
“To see new strains popping up is not ideal,” Norton Healthcare Infectious Diseases and System Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Schulz said. University officials announced multiple Michigan athletes tested positive for the variant linked to a student-athlete who recently traveled to the UK, according to Sports Illustrated.
“This case highlights the travel issue,” Schulz said. “So whenever this young man or person was traveling to the UK and brought that back to his local area, that’s challenging.”
University of Michigan officials put a hold on all athletic programs until further notice.
“Michigan made the call that they felt was in the best interest of their student-athletes as we would.” Louisville basketball coach Chris Mack told WAVE3 News, adding that with so many virus unknowns, all they can do is follow safety protocols to their best ability.
“There’s a significant percentage of the population that has not altered their behavior,” Schulz said, adding that that’s what it all goes back to, people deciding what’s essential and what’s not in protecting their own health and the health of others. His biggest concern about the new strains of the virus?
“The very worst thing would be if they render the current vaccine technology ineffective,” he said.
The doctor said so far, that doesn’t seem to be the case at least with the UK strain, another reason why it’s important to get as many people vaccinated as soon as possible.