Contrary to recent reports, it appears that the P.1 Brazilian variant is not playing a role in the COVID-19 outbreak affecting the Vancouver Canucks.
During today’s media briefing, BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said that she is not aware of any cases of the P.1 variant within the Canucks.
“I’m not aware that any of the cases in the Canucks organization are related to P.1, I don’t know where that started, but not that I’m aware of,” said Dr. Henry. “It just tells us that once this virus gets hold, it can spread very quickly despite having routine testing protocols, having protocols to try and protect people as much as possible.”
It would seem unlikely that a major COVID variant outbreak could happen without Dr. Henry’s knowledge, particularly with a high-profile organization like the Canucks.
And yet, team owner Francesco Aquilini referenced the COVID variant in a tweet intended to support the province-wide restrictions.
“If the Covid variant can knock down a whole team of healthy young athletes, everyone is high risk,” said Aquilini. “Please read and follow the province-wide restrictions!”
Variant or not, what the Canucks have been going through is serious, and a reminder of how easily the virus can be passed between people. BC reported 1,068 cases of COVID-19 today, the second-highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic.
Another Canucks player also joined the NHL’s COVID list today, bringing the team’s total up to 18, since the first positive test was discovered within the Canucks last week. While players can enter COVID-19 protocol for multiple reasons, reports indicate that most of the team has tested positive for the virus. Some coaches and members of the taxi squad have also reportedly tested positive.
“My heart goes out to the Canucks. I know Vancouver Coastal is working very closely with them to make sure that they get the support that they need, that the team members and their families are assessed and tested, and get the health care that they need as well,” stated Henry.
“This is a reminder to all of us, that this virus spreads very easily. It spreads easily in young people and young people can have very serious illness sometimes.
“I know that even with the best of intentions, once it gets in, it can spread without people recognizing it. So this is a cautionary tale for all of us… It is a reminder that this virus can spread so quickly, even when we’re trying to be careful.”
Some Canucks players have reportedly been dealing with symptoms like vomiting, cramping, and dehydration. Brandon Sutter’s father Brent told Sportsnet that his son was “pretty down and out,” suffering from body aches, headaches, and chills.