For athletes competing at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, arriving at the Games in good health is an important part of their preparation.
The prospect of testing positive for COVID-19 – and thus missing out on a chance to compete – looms large before every athlete before Beijing 2022, which will get underway on February 4.
Amidst so many COVID-19 countermeasures, athletes must record two negative tests prior to departure for the Olympics and then must test daily upon arrival.
“A positive test will help us do it at this point,” American snowboarder Hannah Soar told CNN Sport.
“It’s been incredibly stressful, I didn’t know I was actually struggling with anxiety to be completely honest until the last few months.”
Keeping COVID-19 COVID-free is an important part of athletes’ preparations for the Winter Olympics.
Soar has been training and quarantined in Utah for the past month, which includes living in a separate home with her teammates, ordering groceries for delivery and wearing a KN95 mask under her neck to stay warmer when snowboarding.
“This is definitely the most drastic we’ve taken with the COVID protocols and that’s what we have to do,” she said.
“It’s crazy and wild and it’s something I didn’t think I was going to do when I went to the Olympics, but that’s what happens and we’re handling it as best we can.”
She added: “I treat everyone like they are with Covid. It created a lot of anxiety in my life, but hopefully, it brought me to China.”
‘CURRENT POSITIVE PCR’
At last year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo, 41 athletes tested positive for COVID-19, many of whom subsequently withdrew from the competition.
As of Wednesday, 42 people inside Beijing’s closed-loop bubble for the Olympics have tested positive for COVID-19 since January 4 with more than 42,000 tests conducted inside the bubble.
Organizers hope the closed-loop system will limit the spread of COVID-19 over the course of the Games. It will include the event’s official venues, hotels and private transportation, effectively separating the Olympic participants from the rest of the Chinese people.
The strict measures are a reflection of China’s zero-Covid policy, although the emergence of more positive cases related to the Olympics seems inevitable.
“[China] Dr. William Schaffner, professor at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, told CNN.
He continued: “They have created a remarkable series of very strict restrictions and controls that will have consequences. There is little room for explanation.
“However, I would imagine that this particularly contagious virus could get past some of those controls, and possibly a few cases of transmission.”
Fully vaccinated people will be able to enter the closed loop without quarantine, while unvaccinated people will have to quarantine for 21 days upon arrival.
Game participants who test positive will not be able to compete or continue their role in the Game, will instead be sent to a hospital for treatment if they develop symptoms or visit a facility quarantine if they have no symptoms.
Recording two negative PCR tests 24 hours apart will help an individual end isolation, but there is no guarantee how long that may take.
“There is no doubt that some people recovering from Covid can have persistently positive PCR test results, which can last for weeks and even months,” said Dr.
“It doesn’t mean you have live virus. That test is very sensitive, it merely picks up remnants of the virus. You don’t infect anyone else.”
COMING TO BEIJING – NO COVID-19
Laura Deas, a bone racer from the UK, will be traveling to China after experiencing the closed circuit system while attending a test event in Yanqing – a mountainous district 75 kilometers south of Beijing northwest – last year.
“Everything we did – exercise, eat and sleep – was in this bubble, but it felt incredibly organized,” she told CNN while self-isolating at home in the UK ahead of World War II. luck.
She added: “It’s definitely been a challenge and it just means I can’t really live a normal life at the moment… I’ve overcome all of these obstacles over the past few years. to get to this point and I just have to try to really do all the right things now so that I can get to Beijing safely without Covid.”
Nearly 3,000 athletes will compete in 15 disciplines in 109 events in Beijing 2022; when the Congress moves quickly, they will all be praying that a positive test doesn’t take their chances.
“I know well that if I get a chance there, I have the potential to win a medal,” Soar said, “But if I don’t get there, I can’t get a medal.
“So for sure the biggest hurdle for me was making sure we got up the hill, we put on our bibs, got in the starting gate and I could push out.”