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There have been multiple WWE personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past two weeks among on-air and off-air personnel. WWE has yet to comment on the latest this week, although PWTorch has confirmed that someone who was part of last week’s TV tapings is among the latest positive test results. PWTorch has reached out to WWE this afternoon for confirmation of any more positive COVID-19 test results.
Nine days ago, WWE issued this statement to PWTorch attributed to Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, WWE Associate Medical Director:
“A developmental talent, who was last on site at WWE’s training facility on Tuesday, June 9, has tested positive for COVID-19. Since that time, no other individuals that attended the facility have reported symptoms. However, out of an abundance of caution and to ensure the health and safety of the company’s performers and staff, all talent, production crew and employees on site at the training and production facilities will be tested for COVID-19 immediately. Following the test results, WWE plans to proceed with its normal television production schedule.”
WWE implemented its first large-net testing from an outside agency last Tuesday, the day after that statement was released. Raw and Smackdown were taped that Monday, before the tests on Tuesday. On Monday, a segment was taped for Smackdown where the ring was surrounded by wrestlers as Renee Young, A.J. Styles, Daniel Bryan, and Matt Riddle all interacted closely inside the ring, one of the biggest gatherings of wrestlers in close proximity on TV other than battle royals since the pandemic started. Ryan Satin at ProWrestlingSheet.com reports at least three have received positive test results this week.
WWE is scheduled to tape two weeks of Raw and Smackdown this Friday. WWE has informed talent and staff that everyone in attendance going forward will undergo COVID-19 testing before being admitted to the tapings, including their temperature being taken and swab tests on both nostrils. Prior to last week, WWE had not tested talent and staff before tapings, but merely took their temperature and asked about traveling to high-risk areas. Florida, the site of both WWE and AEW TV tapings, is now one of the world’s highest risk places. Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com reports friends and family of WWE performers won’t be allowed at this week’s tapings as they have been recently. WWE had gradually been increasing how many people were allowed at tapings, which at first were described as a ghost town backstage but had expanded over time despite an increase in COVID-19 cases and growing risk in the country, and especially in Florida.
PWTorch sources indicate many WWE wrestlers are growing increasingly frustrated with how WWE management has handled their health and safety, with limited communication, including many finding out about positive test results from media rather from than their own company, even though they may have been in close contact last week with some of the people testing positive this week.
A CNN article today points out the risk that extends beyond WWE personnel, including otherwise healthy wrestlers who are very likely to recover after being sick for days or weeks.
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This recent rise in cases among young adults could lower Covid-19 death rates unless those same young adults infect others, according to a tweet from Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “With younger age of recent infections in at least some places such as Florida, expect a lower death rate in this wave … until the 20-to-40-year-olds who are infected today go on to infect others,” Frieden, president and CEO of the initiative Resolve to Save Lives, tweeted Sunday. The shift of the coronavirus pandemic to younger Americans is not necessarily good news, said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. Younger people are less likely to get sick and less like to die from the virus, Jha told CNN. But even if they aren’t sick, they can infect others, he noted. “Those younger people have parents. They have grandparents, and they are going to go see those people,” he said. “The more the virus spreads, the more everybody is vulnerable.”