13 Texas football players test positive for COVID-19 as statewide numbers surge

Darice Farris

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Texas athletics announced on Thursday that 13 student-athletes have tested positive for COVID-19.

The 13 student-athletes either tested positive on the COVID-19 PCR test, or are presumed positive based on testing and symptoms, according to team doctor Allen Hardin. Ten other asymptomatic student-athletes are in self-isolation after being identified through contact tracing. 

Additionally, four other Texas student-athletes have tested positive for the COVID-19 antibody, meaning they likely were previously exposed to the virus. 

The wave of Texas athletes is just the latest of a long line of negative indicators surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The University of Houston became the first major program to suspend voluntary workouts after six symptomatic student-athletes all tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Houston only planned to test symptomatic athletes, but quickly reversed course to routinely test all athletes after the positive cases. 

Virtually every college football program in Texas had multiple student-athletes test positive for COVID-19 during returns to campus since June 1. Most of the major schools in the state opted to have student-athletes report during the first two weeks of June. The lone area school that opted for a wait-and-see approach was Oklahoma, who pushed reporting until July. TCU and Texas Tech have declined thus far to release how many student-athletes tested positive. 

At the high school level, several Texas high school programs have already been forced to shut down voluntary workouts due to positive tests, including Arlington Martin, Burleson and West-Orange Stark. 

Texas governor Greg Abbott announced in May that outdoor college and professional stadiums in Texas would be allowed to field fans at 25 percent capacity, and then increased the number to 50 percent capacity on June. 3. The push came in the middle of the greatest rise in COVID-19 numbers across the state, and before a single game had been played at 25 percent. 

The returns to campus coincide with a troubling surge in overall COVID-19 cases in the state of Texas. The state set a new record with 4,098 new cases on Tuesday, eviscerating the previous high of 2,504 on June 10. The state began Phase I of reopening the economy on May 1, when the record high day was 1,441 new cases. Thirteen of the first 17 days of June have eclipsed that number. 

As of publication, the state of Texas has 93,206 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 2,029 deaths. The United States features more than a quarter of the world's coronavirus cases despite holding just four percent of the population.

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