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Kentucky Wildcats Morning Quickies: Return Of College Athletes Edition

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Kentucky’s athletes are returning to school for workouts in preparation for their various seasons, and are being screened for COVID-19. But UK is doing things a little differently from most other schools.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Belk Bowl - Virginia Tech v Kentucky Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to the Tuesday Morning Quickies.

As schools beginning welcoming back student athletes, there are a wide variety of procedures being used to test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 or its antibodies. For example, UK is testing athletes only for the presence of antibodies rather than an active infection, instead of testing for both antibodies and active disease. Their justification for this process is here, and I think it makes plenty of sense. Only symptomatic students or those coming from places or situations where risk of exposure is known to be high are being tested for active COVID-19

There is no good way or right way to do this. COVID-19 will often fail to show up on tests of asymptomatic patients, even when they have active disease. This is to be expected, as very often tests for virus like the reverse transcription polymerase test used in the nasal screening for COVID-19 will miss the presence of virus if the viral load is insufficient. It’s just a limitation of these types of tests.

This disease will spread among us until we develop herd immunity (approximately 60% of the population with antibodies) or there is a vaccine. Fortunately, it is rarely deadly in healthy people under the age of 60. As long as we can control the hospitalization rate, a higher infection rate is almost as good as it is bad — whether by infection or vaccination, we must reach heard immunity to stop the pandemic. Nobody will remember this time with much fondness, but risk can never be eliminated, only managed with smart decisions and determined effort.

It’s encouraging to see that no athletes have tested positive for active disease among those that have actually been subjected to that test, and the rest show no signs or symptoms. Six have apparently had the disease and recovered.

Tweet of the Morning

I totally agree.

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