So you think younger people aren’t susceptible to the novel coronavirus? Or if they do get it, the case will be mild and the recovery easy?
Think again. Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy, a healthy 38-year-old not long retired from being a professional athlete, had a severe case of COVID-19 recently, from which he isn’t completely recovered:
“I got crushed,” Hottovy, 38, said of symptoms that included six consecutive days of 100-plus temperatures and breathing difficulties that reached serious enough levels he was hospitalized 12 days into the ordeal.
He said he lost 18 pounds during that month and that even now, 45 days later, “just the lung capacity, the shortness of breath, the cardiovascular [fitness], I’m nowhere near [normal].”
Hottovy said he’s not sure where he contracted the virus, that he “masked up” and took precautions when leaving the house and that those he has been in close contact with regularly have all tested negative — including his wife and kids, “by the grace of God,” he said.
Hottovy said in the interview that it took 30 days before he tested negative, and he is indeed very lucky that he didn’t pass this along to his family. Since he’s now into recovery phase and has tested negative, he can’t pass the virus on to any of his fellow Cubs coaches or Cubs players.
But to me, this is a real cautionary tale. MLB players shouldn’t assume, just because they are young and healthy, that they can’t develop a severe case of COVID-19. Players are reporting to the Cubs and other teams today, and tests will be given. We likely won’t know what the results of those tests will be due to HIPAA laws, and here’s another wrinkle thrown in about any players who do test positive and have to be placed on a special COVID IL:
Teams won't disclose when a player goes on COVID-IL, but doing so frees up a roster spot and a player from the satellite squad can be brought up in their place. Does this protect player privacy, or does it allow MLB to obscure the extent of an outbreak? https://t.co/3fHWJjthyJ— Lindsey Adler (@lindseyadler) July 1, 2020
That’s a good question. And it raised this response:
For context: The operations manual does have a system to inform a player who has tested positive, and the player himself will not be the first to hear... the lab calls the joint committee on covid, the committee calls the team medical staff, the medical staff informs the player https://t.co/NzLiFSL1gu— Emma Baccellieri (@emmabaccellieri) July 1, 2020
One further update: we're still not sure we're going to get official team announcements if a player has been added to COVID-19 IL, only that they've been added to IL.— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) June 29, 2020
Team source says it's possible they might have to get player permission to announce (prob. due to HIPAA)
And if we don’t hear publicly about a COVID-positive player who heads to the special IL, but that player is suddenly replaced on the active roster by someone from the “taxi squad,” I think valid assumptions are going to be made that said player is, in fact, COVID-positive.
We’re going deep into a rabbit hole that I don’t think MLB wants to be in. The “paranoia and suspicion” referred to by Andy Martino could very well become a real thing.
Given that and all the increases in cases in places like Arizona, Florida and Texas, I wonder if baseball will have to be shut down before we even get a single game played.
Best wishes to Tommy Hottovy and his family. They seem very, very lucky. And here’s the final word, from Hottovy:
Cubs pitching coach Tommy Hottovy was still emotional while detailing his COVID-19 case on a follow-up Zoom with reporters: “If my story and my journey through this helps one person realize how severe this can get – and if that saves one life – then I want my story to be heard.”— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) July 1, 2020