University of Michigan Suspends Athletic Activities Over Coronavirus Variant

The University of Michigan mentioned Saturday that it had suspended all sports activities actions for as much as two weeks and advised athletes, coaches and group employees members to quarantine instantly after “several” circumstances of a extra transmissible variant of the coronavirus have been discovered amongst folks linked to the athletic division.

The division mentioned the suspension had been mandated by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in an effort to forestall additional unfold of the variant, first recognized in Britain and often called B.1.1.7, which is estimated to be about 50 p.c extra transmissible than different variants.

“Canceling competitions is never something we want to do,” Warde Manuel, the University of Michigan athletic director, mentioned in a statement, “but with so many unknowns about this variant of Covid-19, we must do everything we can to minimize the spread among student-athletes, coaches, staff, and to the student-athletes at other schools.”

Michigan, a member of the Big Ten Conference, has one of essentially the most outstanding athletic packages within the nation. Its males’s basketball group is at present ranked seventh nationally, and the ladies’s group is ranked eleventh. A two-week suspension would require each groups to reschedule or cancel at the least 4 video games.

Officials in Washtenaw County, which incorporates the University of Michigan, said Saturday that 5 circumstances of the B.1.1.7 variant had been discovered within the county and that different potential circumstances have been being investigated. They mentioned that the primary case was detected on Jan. 16 throughout the University of Michigan neighborhood, however that it was not clear whether or not the following circumstances have been associated to the primary one.

The college administration said five cases of the variant had been detected amongst folks related to the college. It added that every one 5 folks have been in isolation and experiencing gentle or no signs, and that every one of their shut contacts had been recognized, examined and positioned in quarantine.

The coronavirus has disrupted school sports activities packages throughout the nation, with 1000’s of infections amongst athletes, coaches and employees members. A New York Times evaluation final month discovered that the Big Ten Conference had reported essentially the most circumstances of any prime league, together with greater than 200 at Michigan.

The first U.S. case of the B.1.1.7 variant was present in Colorado final month, and it has now been detected in at the least 22 states. Federal well being officers have warned that it could turn into the nation’s dominant supply of coronavirus an infection by March.

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