With the beginning of the Major League Baseball season still uncertain thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak, you could say the league is pretty motivated to gather any information it can on a potential way to get started.
Now, the league is the subject of a massive study, testing up to 10,000 people to learn how many of them have previously had the coronavirus, even if they were asymptomatic, per ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
All MLB employees, including players, will participate.
The study is being run by Stanford University, USC and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL). The hope is it will give public health specialists an idea of how widespread the disease was in various metropolitan areas throughout the country.
“This is the first study of national scope where we’re going to get a read on a large number of communities throughout the United States to understand how extensive the spread of the virus has been,” Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, said, per Passan.
“This will be the very first of those. Why MLB versus other employers? I’ve reached out to others, but MLB moved by far the fastest. They’ve been enormously cooperative and flexible. We’re trying to set up a scientific study that would normally take years to set up, and it’s going to be a matter of weeks.”
Bhattacharya, who will assess the data gathered this week and write a scientific, peer-reviewed paper, hopes to have his findings published next week.
Doctors disclosed that the information won’t necessarily expedite the return, but it’s understandable why MLB would want to jump on board with this.
MLB is floating a number of ideas around to get the season going, including starting the season in Arizona, restructuring divisions to keep teams at their spring training venues and even playing the season in Japan.