Sports | May 13, 2021 10:46 am

The Yankees Somehow Have Seven Confirmed COVID Cases in Vaccinated Staff

The staff members tested positive for the virus ahead of Wednesday's game

Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees is congratulated by Gary Sanchez after hitting a solo home run against the Washington Nationals
Gleyber Torres of the New York Yankees is congratulated by Gary Sanchez after hitting a solo home run against the Washington Nationals.
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New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone announced Wednesday that seven of the team’s staff members — including pitching coach Matt Blake, third-base coach Phil Nevin, first-base coach Reggie Willits and four other unnamed staffers — have tested positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated.

Boone was adamant that all seven who contracted the virus were previously vaccinated. Six out of the seven are reportedly asymptomatic. Shortstop Gleyber Torres, who had COVID-19 back in December and has antibodies according to Boone, is currently being held out of the lineup “out of an abundance of caution” while the Yankees await further test results. It’s unclear why Torres, who is also vaccinated, is the only player being held out of the lineup.

It is, of course, possible for vaccinated people to still contract COVID-19 in what’s being referred to as “breakthrough cases,” but statistically it seems unlikely that the Yankees would have so many of them. According to the CDC, as of April 15, 5,800 Americans have contracted COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated; that’s out of the 77 million people in the country who are currently fully vaccinated. Boone admitted during his press conference that the team is puzzled as to how such a big outbreak of breakthrough cases happened in their clubhouse.

“Making sense of it all, especially a lot of asymptomatic and pretty healthy people, and trying to kind of get our heads wrapped around it all,” Boone said. “Obviously, there’s been some moving parts here from a staff and a coaching standpoint, so making sure we’re all buttoned up as much as we can be, making sure where we’re filling in that we’re doing it as seamless as possible to try to put our players in the best position to go out there and do our job.”

Major League Baseball does not require all players and coaches to be vaccinated, but it has provided incentives, including loosening pandemic restrictions for teams with at least 85% vaccination rates among players and staff who travel to away games. The Yankees are currently one of 10 teams that have reached that threshold, allowing them to remove their masks in the dugout and bullpen, dine indoors and stop participating in the contact tracing program.