Here’s Why Athletes Shouldn’t Get Preferred Access to COVID-19 Tests


Although only one exhibited symptoms, the entire Brooklyn Nets roster received COVID-19 tests. “Brooklyn Nets” by karlnorling is licensed with CC BY 2.0.

Alex Nowakoski, Print Staff Writer

Considering the ruthless and indiscriminate nature of COVID-19, this should be a time when people finally overlook their differences and show support for one another. However, when it comes to who gets access to the limited COVID-19 tests, it appears that this pandemic has only highlighted the inequality which plagues this country. 

Through the use of private companies, many professional athletes have found easier access to COVID-19 tests and have received quicker results. Junior Hector Capeilleres weighed in on this issue, stating “I think that in-season athletes should get special treatment with coronavirus tests because it would speed up the return of professional sports, which can provide a source of hope to many struggling with the chaos coronavirus has caused.” Despite the argument that athletes should have these privileges due to their ability to provide an escape from the harsh reality of COVID-19 and to inspire others to follow testing protocol, the reality is that it’s simply not fair that the many who are truly at risk cannot receive proper testing.

It should not matter that the rich and powerful have more access to COVID-19 tests as there should be enough to go around for everybody.”

That being said, it should not matter that the rich and powerful have more access to COVID-19 tests as there should be enough to go around for everybody. Although America has begun to catch up with the rest of the world in tests done per capita, an initial delay in the distribution of these tests and the failure of the federal government to cooperate with public health experts caused the coronavirus testing problem to spiral out of control. We should have all the tests we need right now and the facilities to perform them and get results back in a timely manner, which is simply not the case at the moment. 

Fortunately enough, innovators like PDS alumnus Matthew Cavuto are working to create a wider supply of accurate coronavirus tests. Recognizing the inaccuracies of antibody tests, Cavuto and his team at Imperial College in London are working to create a device that can accurately diagnose the coronavirus using DNA sequencing and overcomes the issue of short supply and great expense inherent in PCR testing. However, one major obstacle this project faces is the several rounds of local testing necessary to complete before mass production and distribution, which could end up taking several months. 

So, until scientists like Cavuto resolve the shortage of accurate coronavirus tests and the ability to perform them, it’s important to remember that regardless of how badly we want professional sports back, it’s even more important that everybody in this country receives equal access to testing and treatment. An unprecedented crisis like COVID-19 should bring us together, not highlight our differences.