Tuesday, June 30, 2020

KU AD Jeff Long says 7 Jayhawks have tested positive for COVID-19 from 100 tests across 4 sports

Overall view during the game against Indiana State Saturday afternoon at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Aug. 31, 2019.

Overall view during the game against Indiana State Saturday afternoon at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium on Aug. 31, 2019.


KU has found seven cases of COVID-19 among the 100 student-athletes it's tested from across four sports, University of Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long said Monday.

Long discussed the school's testing results during an appearance on Sports Radio WHB. He didn't go into many specifics on the radio, but a KU spokesman told the Journal-World on Tuesday that three of the positive tests were from football players.

Two weeks ago, KU announced one positive test in the football program, which saw nearly 100 athletes return to campus for the first week of voluntary workouts beginning June 15.

Athletes from the rest of KU’s fall sports rosters, which include men’s and women’s cross country, women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, women’s tennis, women’s rowing, women’s swimming and diving and men’s and women’s golf, are allowed to report to campus for the start of voluntary workouts on Wednesday.

During Monday’s radio interview, Long said he remained hopeful about college football starting on time in the fall, but added that KU was prepared for delays and changes to the schedule.

“I wouldn’t use the term confident,” Long said. “I would use the word optimistic. We’re preparing for play this fall in our fall sports, particularly football. It’s the economic piece that we need to have. But we’re proceeding cautiously.”

Long praised the efforts of the Kansas Team Health employees and administrators, who oversee all of KU's medical and training practices, for keeping the athletic department informed about the pandemic throughout the past few months.

“We’re, I think, managing it very, very well,” Long said. “Certainly as we bring more student-athletes back to campus and back to voluntary workouts in our facilities, we expect to see more (positive tests).”

What that means for the immediate future of sports at KU remains to be seen. But Long said that with roughly 50% of the athletic department’s annual revenue coming from football, the idea of not having a 2020 college football season would be “potentially devastating.”

To that end, Long said KU had begun looking at alternate plans in case the COVID-19 pandemic creates delays or further obstacles for starting the football season on Sept. 5 as currently scheduled.

One such plan includes pushing football back several months.

“I think if it doesn’t happen in the fall, we will move it to the spring, and we will play in some way, shape, or form,” Long said. “We’ll be able to have fans in attendance. We’ll have television at some level.”

While a spring football season remains one of the contingency plans KU is exploring, Long said the heavy schedule of spring events — in both college and professional sports — could limit the “windows of opportunities” associated with televising those games, which would only add to the challenge of holding on to whatever football revenue the department can.

“Again, I think it’s fair to say we’re preparing for the fall, but also we have to be intelligent and, at the same time, be thinking about the what ifs if we do miss a fall season," Long said. "We’re preparing for it. We want our fans to be optimistic and prepare for it, and so we’re proceeding cautiously.”


Dirk Medema 1 year, 2 months ago

Matt - Of the 7 positive test results, are the athletes all currently infected and contagious? My understanding is that the results of some testing commingles currently infected with previously infected; the former being bad while the latter is actually good.

Also, do you know if they do a second test after a positive result? A relative tested positive when being admitted to the hospital. Because of the circumstances associated with that situation, the doctor had a second test performed that came back negative. While it’s generally rare, most testing does have some amount of false positives.

It is interesting that there is a 7% positive rate. I think that’s relatively high, but might also reflect the comprehensive testing being performed. A Stanford University study of a random sample population early on (April?) showed infection rates twice as high as otherwise realized from testing. Thought I saw that more recent studies showed it being something like 10 times greater. I think that’s what happened with SARS 10? years ago. Never did get a vaccine, but enough people got it and recovered that the disease eventually died out.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 2 months ago

Unfortuntely, for covid-19, there currently is nothing showing that having had it once provides immunity against reinfection. Hopefully, immunity will be proven at some point but at this point it's not shown to be the case.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 2 months ago

Interesting comment Dale realizing that vaccines work on this basis. I wonder if it will be proven prior to a vaccine development.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 2 months ago

Vaccines have not been developed for every illness. SARS, as you mentioned, is one where there STILL is no vaccine. I hope a vaccine will be developed, and soon, for covid-19. I hope eventually it is shown that once a person has suffered covid-19 they will be immune from future attacks. But to this date, there is absolutely nothing that confirms that possibility for this disease. Let's hope that changes soon. And now I read that China has identified a new strain of swine flu that has pandemic potential.

By the way, my daughter has taught English in China for the past 6 years. She stresses to us frequently that China whipped covid-19 by requiring face masks and making people stay home. Yes, they've had a small resurgence, mostly from people returning to the country. Since their type of government can force people to stay home, they were able to whip this much more quickly than we are doing in this country, where too many idiots think it's all a hoax or overblown. In my daughter's case, the gates to her apartment complex were chained closed and a guard posted. If they had a serious reason to leave, like maybe a medical condition requiring medical attention, they were given a pass and allowed out. As for groceries and the like, incoming deliveries had to be left at the gate and the receiver had to come to the gate to get them. And that's just a small sample. So long as we have people refusing to protect themselves and, particularly, the rest of us from them, this is just going to drag on. The EU is opening borders to named countries. The USA is not one of them.

Dale Rogers 1 year, 2 months ago

Here is an excerpt (and a link to the full article) about a potential vaccine being tested right now:

Inovio’s vaccine uses DNA to teach the immune system to target the surface of the novel coronavirus. If successful, it would be both the company’s first approved vaccine and the first DNA vaccine ever. The company designed the vaccine in its San Diego research lab.

And here is a link to the full article:

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