WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Major League Baseball has been reportedly consulting with the National Hockey League to learn more about the benefits, and the downsides, of their practice of forming bubbles or "hub" zones for players to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
The MLB's adoption of the practice would entail the league forming neutral sites for players which would reduce travel and restrict movement significantly in order to mitigate any virus spread, as much as possible. The talks are a sign that the league is looking to increase containment protocols and tighten down on rules even more in the MLB's postseason.
As ESPN reports, citing sources familiar with the talks, Major League Baseball's 16-team post season could kick off with two areas containing two sites in each of those areas. Southern California and Texas are looking like early focus areas for the league according to reports.
The two National League division series could be carried out in San Diego while the two American League division series could be played out in Arlington, Texas. Other possibilities the ESPN source mentioned were New York and Chicago, or Milwaukee, but geographic sites had not been confirmed by the MLB as of Wednesday.
As ESPN reported earlier in August, National Hockey League teams were put into "hub" zones in Alberta, Toronto and Edmonton in Canada during phase 4 and reported zero positive coronavirus results out of the 7,703 tests.
But as one of the leading experts on infectious disease in the U.S., Dr. Anthony Fauci has said, there are "subtle cultural and other differences between" the U.S. and Canada as well. Including how localities and states respond to recommendations from health authorities.
As coronavirus outbreaks in cities around the United States continue to be somewhat volatile and unpredictable, this will highlight the importance of continuous testing.
For the NHL, the players and those who come in contact with players at the "hub" zones in the chosen Canadian cities, many are tested each day by the NHL's medical staff. This could include anyone from the ice crew to members of the media, law enforcement and the PA announcers. All who are inside the bubble are allotted a 30 minute window for testing inside their hotels.