Let’s see if we can address this subject without starting another controversy. I doubt it, and frankly I’m not even going to read the comments, but let’s just see, this one time, if we can talk about a ‘political’ topic that shouldn’t even be political without people going at each other’s throats in the comment section.
As you’re surely aware, the Pittsburgh Steelers have a close business relationship with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center—or with the UPMC, as you might better know it as. The team’s facility is known as the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, after all.
Yesterday, UPMC announced that it would be administering tests to all of its patients, whether they show any symptoms or not, to see if they test positive for Covid-19. They are doing this in hopes of leading an effort to fast-track, as much as it can be, a path toward reopening the country, part of the process of which includes understanding just how widespread infection is.
“This is how we assure safety and we learn more about the disease”, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review quoted Dr. Don Yealy as saying of the facility’s decision to, in waves, roll out universal testing to all patients, which will begin with those requiring hospitalization for surgeries and other invasive procedures.
While Pennsylvania has been among the hardest-hit states in the country in terms of total number of reported positive cases of Covid-19, the state has not been hit evenly across its geography, with the eastern part seeing much higher numbers than the western side, which is where Pittsburgh and UPMC are located.
“We know, for centuries, that viral pandemics don’t enter a country or even a region exactly the same. They don’t hit everyone at the same time, or at the same intensity”, Yealy said. “One thing’s for certain though: I do think that Central and Western Pennsylvania prepared relatively earlier than other places”.
“In other words”, he added, “the activities we were asked to partake in — social distancing and other things — I think we got on board quicker and more completely, and the benefit was that we were able to dampen that curve”.
In addition to the universal testing, UPMC is also beginning work with antibodies, in the hopes that this could provide some level of treatment, even preventative treatment, against the virus. It has not yet been shown whether or not people with antibodies have developed any level of immunity, however; more testing is required, and this is part of that process.
Multiple current members of the NFL have already tested positive, and this was in spite of the fact that the league has been in its offseason. All team facilities are shut down, and none will reopen until all are able to reopen, so even if Pittsburgh is deemed safe at some point sooner down the line, the Steelers will not be able to do anything that the New York Giants or the New England Patriots would be able to do. Perhaps the work UPMC is doing will provide some information or an example as to how to accelerate the ability for the country to get to a point where things can begin to open up again.