As college football players and other athletes across the country report to campuses, schools have released some results from their department COVID-19 tests. Clemson has the most significant documented outbreak within a college athletic department so far, within the football program.
Earlier today, the school announced that 28 of 315 total athletes tested positive for the coronavirus. At almost 9-percent, the number is pretty staggering. Moreso are the numbers coming out of the football program specifically.
According to a report by The Athletic's Grace Raynor, 23 of the positive tests are within Dabo Swinney's program. Clemson's current football roster has 115 players listed, putting the positive test percentage at 24.3-percent. This does not include any staff members who may have been exposed.
Just last week, Clemson announced two positive tests within the football program, of more than 100 tests administered between June 8 and 9, after a seven-day isolation period. That indicates that the exposure came while players were already on campus, which is a scary notion. As Forbes notes, the Clemson area only has 253 available hospital beds, so a spread could be particularly hazardous in the small college town.
The drastic climb pairs with that in the state of South Carolina as a whole. On Friday, the Palmetto state had nearly 1,100 new positive tests, with a massive spike among young people.
Luckily, young and healthy people have a very high success rate in fighting the disease. Many will be totally asymptomatic, which is still a major problem though, as they can unknowingly pass the disease to more vulnerable people in their lives.
In her report, Raynor notes that Clemson is treating roommates of those who test positive for COVID-19 as "presumed positives," and will have those individuals quarantine together. It is unclear whether the 23 player number includes these presumed positives, or if they are all individual positive tests. In any event, it is a startling number, especially for those of us who deeply want football to return in the fall.
COVID-19 continues to spike throughout the South and Southwest, in some of the most football-hungry states in the country. If you want the sport to return in a few months, please wear a mask and do what you can to halt the spread. The work is far from done.