Of the nearly 750 tests carried out in the first round of COVID-19 testing as part of the Premier League’s Project Restart, only six (6) came back positive, for an infection rate of less than 1 per cent. That’s less than even the nominal false-negative rate of the test! That’s the good news.
The bad news is that half of those cases were at Watford, where two players and one staff tested positive. Combined with perhaps the biggest vocal opponent of the restart plans, Troy Deeney, who’s already opted out of training due to health concerns, more Watford players are now set to join him according to The Athletic. The restart plans could be scuppered altogether if players effectively stage a coup.
It is of course up to each individual player whether they think the risk is acceptable, but the Premier League has no protocols in place for what happens if many players start holding out — or if many players start testing positive, for that matter. Those are some of the unknowns that are causing consternation for players like Deeney, in addition to the concerns over underlying health conditions both for themselves and their families.
For now, everybody else seems pretty happy with the first day of training and the tests that were conducted before it, including Burnley boss Sean Dyche, whose assistant, Ian Woan was one of those who tested positive. He will now go into self-isolation where he will need two negative tests (false-negative rate of 1 in 7000 for two consecutive tests, claim Prenetics who are conducting the testing) to be given the all-clear.
“Ian is asymptomatic and is currently safe and well at home. He will remain in close communication with club personnel regarding his re-engagement in training once he is clear of the virus.”
-Sean Dyche; source: Mail
The identities of the other five who tested positive (at Watford and at another unnamed team) have not yet been released due to privacy concerns. Teams are reportedly considering eventually revealing them for the sake of confidence-generating full transparency.
All but one Premier League team returned to training on Tuesday, with Norwich City set to start only on Thursday after delaying their initial round of tests to today. It takes 24-48 hours to get results back.