Covid-19 risks at apartment complexes raise alarm for Drinkwitz

Covid-19 risks at apartment complexes raise alarm for Drinkwitz

When Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz saw photos of students clustered together without masks at the Brookside Midtown pool over the weekend, he took them seriously.

He didn’t seem thrilled about a situation at Todd Student Living on Monday night, either. Residents, including members of the football team, evacuated after residents allegedly poured fire extinguishers down the stairwell. As photos from the scene showed, many students were standing side by side, unmasked, a situation when respiratory droplets in the air can spread.

“Fourteen days from now we’ll know if everyone’s taking [Covid-19] serious,” Drinkwitz said. “Those pictures that broke at that apartment complex over the weekend didn’t look like we’re real close, so we have some more work to do.”

Fourteen days references the incubation period for Covid-19, the pandemic that has already forced the Big Ten and the Pac-12 conferences to cancel fall sports, including football.

While Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk expressed optimism on Monday that the Southeastern Conference can pull through, Drinkwitz’s tone was less positive after the Todd incident.

“I had to tell my football team I was concerned about it, too, because again, it’s a 14-day period,” Drinkwitz said. “Just because you feel good today, doesn’t mean that the virus is not still out there. And that’s the biggest thing, you can’t get complacent. Every day, there’s a new opportunity to be exposed.”

While the Tigers haven’t revealed if there are any suspected or confirmed active cases of Covid-19 on the team, Missouri’s student body has at least 159 as of Monday.

Major football schools around the country have been reporting similar stories. North Carolina and Notre Dame moved classes fully online for the foreseeable future after less than a week on campus. Alabama, Missouri’s Week One opponent, has reported over 500 cases among its student body. And at the University of Oklahoma, football coach Lincoln Riley told the Athletic that one position group is “essentially wiped out – all but one – by a Covid test.”

Missouri players have pleaded for students to be careful on campus. Tight end Daniel Parker Jr. urged students to wear a mask for their own safety and the safety of others, rather than for the sake of a potential football season. Running back Larry Rountree III noted last week that he and his teammates have to be careful around non-athletes because they might not be as careful in their daily lives.

“If they catch the virus, they won’t miss two games,” Rountree said. “When we talk to guys about being accountable, when you do go out, just wear a mask. We have to be careful, because at the end of the day, they’re not in the same predicament.”

Drinkwitz’s message to the team has been clear from the get-go: he’s preached unselfishness to his players.

“It’s not about you, it’s about the team, and that’s kind of just been his main emphasis,” offensive lineman Thalen Robinson said. “If you’re about to make a selfish action, just think about everything that’s at stake, think about what has happened already with other programs, and those are great examples for us to learn from.”

Edited by Eli Hoff | ehoff@themaneater.com

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