Don’t blame Michigan high school sports for rising COVID-19 cases

The number of COVID-19 positive cases are up in Michigan, that is not in dispute.

But are we really sure that high school athletics is the driving force behind the spike?

To listen to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, high school athletics is at the root of the increase.

How do they know that for certain?

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High school students have tested positive at a higher rate recently and many of those students are athletes. But are those related or just a coincidence?

Let’s just say there are some weekend parties in a community like, say, Oxford, and a bunch of students wind up testing positive for COVID-19. If some of those at the parties were athletes and they test positive, too, does the state think those cases are athletically related?

Detroit Douglass' Pierre Brooks II (1) makes a layup against Pershing's Savally Hill (4) during the first half of a MHSAA regular season game  at Detroit Pershing High School in Detroit, on Friday, March 5, 2021.

It certainly seems that way if you listen to some of our state leaders.

“Due to the many outbreaks linked to sports, this new order requires youth athletes, ages 13 to 19 years old, to take part in a weekly testing program to participate in athletic practices or competitions,” Khaldun said at a news conference Friday.

“This (new state order) is important because we’ve seen so many outbreaks associated with sports teams, and we want to identify any cases as soon as possible and prevent spread,”