Less Than 1% Of MLB Employees Test Positive In Coronavirus Antibody Study
Coronavirus test
Ulises Ruiz/AFP

Two months have passed since Major League Baseball temporarily suspended operations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but there is optimism that an official plan may soon be announced to carry forward with the 2020 season.

During the downtime, thousands of MLB employees voluntarily participated in one of the nation’s largest studies to determine if they at one point had contracted the disease.

The Los Angeles Dodgers were among the reported 26 organizations to take part in the survey conducted by Jay Bhattacharya, MD, Ph.D., professor of medicine at Stanford University and one of the lead researchers.

The results of the study are in, with an astonishingly low percentage of positive cases coming back, via Ronald Blum of The Associated Press:

Just 0.7% of Major League Baseball employees tested positive for antibodies to COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. The small number of positive tests, announced Sunday, was taken as positive news by a sport pushing ahead with plans to start its delayed season.

A total of 6,237 samples were received by researchers. 5,754 of those were acquired in the United States, with 60 of them coming back positive. However, that number was ultimately reduced to 42 to account for false positives.

By comparison, the results are much more promising than other antibody tests administered to the general public. As a result, Bhattacharya was pleasantly surprised by the low percentage of MLB employees to test positive for COVID-19 antibodies:

“I was expecting a little bit of a higher number,” Bhattacharya said during a telephone news conference. “The set of people in the MLB employee population that we tested in some sense have been less affected by the COVID epidemic than their surrounding communities.”

Bhattacharya cited MLB representatives being much younger than the overall population as one of the main factors for the low percentage of positive cases. Over 95% of the participants were under 65 and not considered part of the high-risk group.

Bhattacharya also credited MLB employees for taking necessary measures after reporting to Spring Training in February, such as constantly washing their hands and wearing masks when necessary.

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