COVID-19 pandemic research
Major League teams will be part of a widespread coronavirus study. Photo credit: @Molly_Knight, via Twitter

Thousands of Major League Baseball employees are set to take part in a study that aims to determine how deeply the disease caused by the coronavirus has impacted cities across the country.

According to the story, first reported by The Athletic (paywall) and later by ESPN, researchers will analyze tests of up to 10,000 people connected to baseball, from players and front-office representatives to ushers and concessions workers.

Those conducting the study, including Stanford University and the University of Southern California, will seek signs of antibodies for the coronavirus.

A positive result indicates a person had had the virus at one time, whether he or she became ill or not.

“This is the first study of national scope where we’re going to get a read on a large number of communities throughout the United States to understand how extensive the spread of the virus has been,” said Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a Stanford professor, told ESPN.

He also called baseball “enormously cooperative” in agreeing to become part of the study. Other fields and companies, the doctor told the network, had yet to agree.

All but three MLB teams volunteered to participate. It’s unclear if the San Diego Padres are part of the study. Other reports indicated that both New York teams, the Mets and the Yankees, have joined, as have the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies.

The researchers also took pains to explain that the tests are not the same as those used in patient care that have been in short supply. The tests instead determine if a blood protein the “body produces in response” to coronavirus exposure is present.

Baseball delayed the start of the season indefinitely due to the virus.

– Staff reports