No one knows how long this coronavirus pandemic will last and the lasting effects it will have on us. With this mindset, according to USA Today, there will be a national study involving Major League Baseball to determine how and why COVID-19 infected so many and spread so rapidly.
Major League Baseball with its players, team employees, and family members who are in direct contact have become the largest industry to participate in a nationwide study. The research will test about 10,000 people for coronavirus antibodies, allowing medical and scientific researchers to understand how widespread COVID-19 is across the United States.
“We went to them, asked if they were interested in partnering,’’ Dr. Daniel Eichner, president of the Sports Medicine Research & Testing Laboratory in Salt Lake City, told USA TODAY Sports this week, “and they were happy to help contribute to public health policy. It couldn’t have worked any more favorable. Everybody was motivated to assist as quickly as they could.
“I think it will be enormously useful for public health to understand how extensive the infection is around the country. We need a study like this.’’
The Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) is conducting this COVID-19 epidemiological study in conjunction with Stanford University and the University of Southern California. The mass testing is called the COVID-19 Sero Prevalence Study.
Why Major League Baseball as opposed to other professional sports or organizations? The MLB’s employee and player population is more diverse in terms of age and geographies than other professional American sports, making it a more representative sample of the U.S.
“This will be the first time we’ll be able to see how prevalent COVID-19 has spread throughout the United States,’’ said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, professor of medicine at Stanford. “This will help us understand how far along we are in battling this virus.
“This is a scientific study that would normally take years to set up, and it’s going to be a matter of weeks.’’