Andy Hodges

Hogs’ first positive case shouldn’t be that surprising or reason to panic

Arkansas has had one player get a positive result for Covid-19 from a test last week and it probably shouldn’t be surprising or cause to start predicting the future.

Maybe the most surprising thing about the announcement from Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek on Thursday afternoon about a player testing positive was that it was only one.

“The positive result was confirmed based on the results of a test conducted last week,” Yurachek said in a statement.

There will be knee-jerk panic in some corners. Doom-and-gloom from some other corners. This was expected and likely caught no one by surprise. Bringing players in the first week of June was because there were, naturally, going to be positive tests.

“As I shared previously, we knew it was not a matter of if, but rather when a Razorback student-athlete would be confirmed positive,” Yurachek said.

That was simply in the numbers and was going to happen, preferably sooner as opposed to later. This allows for plenty of time for the mandatory quarantines and self-isolation before real practices start. Right or wrong, that’s the reasoning.

The entire state is seeing a rise in numbers that go with massive increased testing. About 95 percent test negative (the trigger for raised concern is if that number falls below 90 percent).

While some focus on the positive test results, I don’t pay much attention to that because it’s probably not going to drop to zero … probably ever. Very few viral infectious diseases just disappear altogether.

Vaccines will help a little. The best vaccines in medical history for this type of viral respiratory illness has been 60% effective, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the point man on the national front with Covid-19. Simply put, four out of 10 people are still going to test positive.

The reality going forward is everybody will determine their own level of risk based on the numbers. Having lived through a couple of these that’s been the case previously, including the Hong Kong Flu when I was in junior high school that killed 1-4 million worldwide and over 100,000 in the USA.

Advice from our parents and grandparents was to get away from anybody coughing and “wash your hands after touching anything.” That usually lasted until they were out of sight.

Don’t get the idea I’m not taking this seriously. A rough guess is close to 100 people I know have tested positive. One of my closest friends in high school died from it. A good friend that I’ve worked with for years nearly died (22 days on a ventilator) and was on vacation in Arkansas last week.

The few people I know that were positive said they’ve had other illnesses that were “10 times worse than this.” Most never showed a single symptom.

Extended family members I haven’t seen in a couple of years have recently tested positive and have a multitude of underlying issues. So, yes, I’m well aware of how serious it can be.

But I also know it’s not close to a death sentence and a staggering number of people will never even know they have it.

Wear a mask or don’t. Wear gloves or don’t. Stay at home or go do whatever you want. Everybody knows the numbers and it’s an individual decision the actions they feel comfortable taking.

That’s a decision for every person to make for themselves and there will be no complaints from this corner whatever they want to do.

But don’t start looking for a daily briefing from Yurachek on the testing results and things like that because it probably isn’t going to happen.

“With respect for privacy, we do not plan on announcing or detailing each case as it may arise,” Yurachek said in his statement.

The fact there was a positive test isn’t that surprising. It very likely won’t be the last and we will probably only get a summary of positive tests at some point in time.

Plus, despite the quick-draw reactions from some corners it is still the first of June and drawing any conclusions about positive tests now affecting what might happen in July is over-reaction, in my opinion.

No need for panic.

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