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Virus review: Athletes wary about safety, testing in return; McConnell stresses value of masks
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Virus review: Athletes wary about safety, testing in return; McConnell stresses value of masks

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Reporters from The Associated Press spoke to more than two dozen athletes from around the globe — representing seven countries and 11 sports — to get a sense of how concerned or confident they are about resuming competition. What emerged, above all, was a sense that they are going through the very same sort of calculus that much of the rest of society is: What is safe nowadays? How do I, and my family, stay healthy, especially with no cure or vaccine yet?

These are the sorts of thoughts those who play the games that people love to watch, discuss and gamble on are grappling with as lockdowns brought about by the coronavirus outbreak begin to ease and various sports resume competition — NASCAR and UFC, for example — or attempt to figure out how to, such as Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL.

Nearly unanimous was a wariness about enough COVID-19 testing — what types, how many, how often — and other precautions (contact tracing, for example) that leagues, unions and governing bodies might institute as they develop protocols.

In other news, while President Donald Trump has declined to wear masks in public, a key political ally of the president touted the importance of donning face coverings while touring hospitals. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, says “there should no stigma attached to wearing a mask.”

“And even among age groups that are least likely to either contract this disease or die from it, you could be a carrier. So I think what we all need to do is say, ‘OK, I’m going to take responsibility not only for myself but for others.’”

In other developments:

  • New research shows how dangerous the coronavirus is for current and former cancer patients. Those who developed COVID-19 were much more likely to die within a month than people without cancer who got it, two studies found.
  • Organizers canceled the Boston Marathon on Thursday for the first time in its history, bowing to the social distancing requirements of the coronavirus outbreak and ending a 124-year run that had persisted through two World Wars, a volcanic eruption and even another pandemic.
  • The influence of faith on some of the government’s top coronavirus fighters illustrates its complicated connection to science. While tensions over public worship’s effect on public health arise amid the pandemic — with President Donald Trump declaring religious services “essential” — personal spirituality, in all of its forms, remains an unquestioned guidepost for some scientists guiding the U.S. response.
  • The House gave sweeping bipartisan approval to legislation to modify a new “paycheck protection” program for businesses that have suffered COVID-related losses, giving them more flexibility to use federal subsidies for other costs and extending the lifespan of the program as the economy continues to struggle.
  • At a House hearing, Democrats charged that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been “largely invisible” during the pandemic and hasn't found ways to combat it, such as by issuing an emergency temporary standard for worker protection.
  • The coronavirus has taken a gruesome death toll on Italian priests. With more clergy dying yearly than ordained before the pandemic, priests in formation won’t refill the ranks. Instead, they see a crucial opportunity to re-imagine the role of priests.
  • The English Premier League plans to restart on June 17 after a 100-day shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with new staggered kickoff times to make sure every game can be shown on TV as fans are prevented from attending games.
  • Broadcasting was once widely used in Latin America to teach basic math and literacy skills to rural children and adults. Amid the coronavirus lockdown, lessons on radio and TV are making a comeback, especially with the region’s weak internet connectivity.
  • Spain’s more than 19,000 nursing home deaths are the most across Europe. It’s led to soul-searching over its elder-care system, particularly public nursing homes operated by private firms that seek to turn profits quickly by cutting staff, expenses and, some say, care to the bone.

For more summaries and full reports, please select from the articles below. Scroll further for helpful tips, charts tracking testing and more.

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