For most of April, while baseball was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, White Sox pitcher Dylan Cease was back home in Georgia, preparing for a possible baseball season but also bracing for what he felt was coming next.
The coronavirus very likely invaded the house where Cease was living. He was concerned it was only a matter of time before he became stricken with the disease as well.
“Everyday I was waiting for it,” Cease said on the White Sox Talk Podcast.
After spring training was canceled, Cease flew from Arizona to Georgia to stay at his brother’s place. About a week after he arrived, his brother’s girlfriend, who was living with them, became ill.
“She had a fever for like 17 straight days. For three weeks she was basically asleep all day," Cease said. "It probably took her a week-and-a-half, two weeks after that to start feeling more normal, but she’s good now. I wasn’t able to leave my place for three weeks to a month.”
How exposed was he?
“Very exposed,” Cease said.
The puzzling part is that when she went to get tested for COVID-19, the result came back negative.
“There was something funky with it,” Cease said. “She doesn’t think they did the right thing. They didn’t swab her nose. We’re pretty sure it wasn’t done correctly, because why else would she have a fever for three straight weeks? Her cousin is a doctor, and he said, ‘You got this, so don’t leave the house.’”
For days, Cease was concerned that at any moment he could develop symptoms and become sick with the virus.
“I was reading that usually within the first seven days you’ll know, so everyday I was telling myself, ‘OK, it’s less likely I’m going to get it, less likely, less likely,'" he said. "And once she was in the clear and then it was a week later and I still wasn’t sick, I was like 'All right, I’m either immune to it or she didn't have it,' but we’re pretty sure she had it.”
How did his brother’s girlfriend get sick? She’s a student, so maybe she was exposed to the virus at school.
But Cease wonders if he caught COVID-19 on the way back to Georgia, was asymptomatic, and gave it to her after he arrived.
“It could have been from me. We don’t really know," he said. "I was traveling. I was just coming from Arizona. I was on a plane, at the airport. It could have been from me, but I didn’t have any symptoms or anything."
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Cease has not been tested for the virus or whether he has the antibodies. If there’s a baseball season, that will certainly change. MLB and the players union are discussing strict health and safety measures in the event baseball returns, with frequent testing among the players.
NBC Sports Chicago reported on Saturday the league and players are showing a willingness to negotiate in the hopes of getting a deal done for a baseball season in 2020.
Cease is ready to return. He's also aware of what that could mean from an exposure standpoint.
“As a player, I think you have to embrace that you’re risking the chance of getting (the coronavirus). (You have to) minimize your exposure to the outside world as much as you can during the season," he said. "You can’t expect it to be 100 percent safe.
"We definitely want to play. Obviously, there’s business negotiations that have to go down. We really do want to be on the field when it’s all said and done. Hopefully they can figure it out, we can figure it out.”
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