by Steve Mancuso

COVID concerns and questions touch home for the Reds

I just posted this thread on Twitter, so I thought I’d also put it here for the people who have the good sense not to use Twitter:

First, best wishes to Matt Davidson and his family and friends that the course of the virus will be mild and that it hasn’t spread beyond him.

MLB’s protocol, at least as we know it, is testing every-other day with results released 36-48 hours later. In this case, under that assumption, Davidson would have been positive when he took a test on Thursday.

But we don’t really know when he actually *became* positive? His previous test — a negative one — would have been on Tuesday. That means Davidson could have been positive since Wednesday, but certainly was by Thursday.

Either way, Davidson was around his teammates Thursday, Friday and Saturday and played against the Tigers yesterday. We know MLB and the Reds are taking strict precautions, but we also see them close together without masks on the field.

With finding out about Davidson’s positive test today, presumably all the Reds would be tested today. But when will the results from that be back? Monday morning?

Meanwhile, how confident can anyone on the team be that they are negative? Should they quarantine themselves from their family until they get negative results? Should they play the game today?

The Washington Nationals faced a similar situation on Thursday and MLB had them go ahead and play the Opening Day game against the Yankees. My guess is the Reds-Tigers game will take place today, and tomorrow as well.

In the weeks leading up to this weekend, everyone was skeptical that MLB could get this off the ground. Even they were, I bet. But they did it. With few positive tests this week, there were wonderful Opening Days across the country, including in Cincinnati.

So I worry that MLB will push too hard based on the confidence they gained in the past couple weeks that they can simply go forward even though there are positive tests here and there and games taking place without knowing whether players are positive or negative.

We shouldn’t be lulled by the past week and successful start into minimizing the real ongoing risk to the players, coaches, team personnel and their families and friends.

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.


  • Thomas Green

    Hi, Steve. As a guy who is steeply versed in stats, have you seen anything reliable on % of false positives? Is MLB double testing positives with a separate company’s test to limit this possibility?

    • Steve Mancuso

      The diagnostic tests are more reliable than the antibody tests (which get results in minutes). Plus the antibody tests are loaded with false negatives. I’m sure MLB is double and triple checking the players who test positive.

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