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Monday, April 22, 2024

COVID-19 spikes after the Dodgers win World Series

Both the Dodgers and their fans risk infection of the virus following their World Series win

After 32 long years, the Los Angeles Dodgers finally took home the World Series title against the Tampa Bay Rays in six games at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas. It was the second big win for the City of Angels in October, following the Lakers’ NBA Championship win. But, after winning the World Series, the team’s celebration provoked a spike of COVID-19 throughout the Dodgers organization and their fanbase.

Justin Turner has been a member of the Dodgers for seven years as their starting third baseman. The day before Game 6, Turner was tested for the virus and during the second inning of the game, his results came back inconclusive. While all of this was happening, Turner played in the biggest game of his life so far. After the results were run again, they came back positive and the Dodgers were immediately called.

Turner had played seven innings before he was removed from the field. He and his wife were then placed in a doctor’s quarantine room, where they watched the rest of the game. 

Shortly after the final out, Turner tweeted, “Thanks to everyone reaching out! I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA #WorldSeriesChamps.”

Following the conclusion of the trophy presentation, Turner believed it was safe to go onto the field only to take a picture with his wife for an occasion that he may only experience once. His teammates and one staffer allegedly encouraged him to leave the room since they had already been exposed to him and were prepared for the risk. 

“What was intended to be a photo capturing the two of us turned into several greetings and photos where I briefly and unwisely removed my mask,” Turner released in a statement. “In hindsight, I should have waited until the field was clear of others to take that photo with my wife. I sincerely apologize to everyone on the field for failing to appreciate the risks of returning to the field.”

Despite Turner’s positive test results, there are several images that capture him without the mask during team pictures. He was also not socially distancing, instead hugging and celebrating with teammates. 

About 1400 miles away, Dodgers fans in Southern California gathered in large crowds to celebrate the Dodgers’ victory. According to the Los Angeles Times, fans who were congregating in dine-in restaurants were screaming, hugging and cheering with strangers without masks.

In East Los Angeles, fans gathered and blocked Whittier Boulevard. In downtown LA and Pacoima, large crowds of people filled the sidewalks while drivers in cars were doing donuts on the streets. Dozens of people celebrated outside Dodger Stadium, Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park with fireworks and cheering as cars were honking as they passed by. 

In Ventura County, gatherings occurred on Saviers Road, where cars were bumper-to-bumper on a three-mile long street. People jumped out of their cars, fireworks were shot up in the night sky and a band began playing on the sidewalk. There was a crowd of about 800 people on the sidewalks, many of whom were not socially distancing or wearing masks. The celebrations did not end until roughly 11 p.m.

Research from Los Angeles Public Health officials show the severe spike in cases among young adults who are at higher risk for spreading the disease. In September, COVID-19 cases were at its lowest point and soon began to rise again after the victories of both sports teams.

“The more people you get into a place, then the higher the risk that someone is going to be there with a big load of virus,” said Riverside County Public Health Officer Cameron Kaiser. “Paradoxically, it’s probably somebody healthier because they can tolerate it. And then those people turn out to be highly efficient in giving it to other folks.”

            Justin Turner and the Dodgers organization are now taking the proper precautions to lower the risk of infecting others. Nonetheless, sports gatherings coincided with the increase of COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles because these fans were without face coverings, transmitting the disease. This was a long awaited victory for LA sports fans, but the price they had to pay may be costly. 

Written by: Katherin Raygoza — sports@theaggie.org


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