The 4/9 press conference about the possible COVID-19 infection raised more questions than answers and did not definitively indicate whether there was a positive test. Conflicting readings from a quick test — initially indicating positive then corrected to negative — do not inspire a lot of confidence. A proper test result will be provided on the 10th, so stay tuned.
The press conference shed some light on the symptoms exhibited by the rikishi, who is ranked below makushita but did not provide further details about the heya affected or the rikishi. Sadly, the wrestler has a fever, shortness of breath, and coughing up bloody mucus. The fever was a moderate fever on the fourth which then increased. He has been hospitalized, especially due to the fact that he has an undisclosed underlying health condition. Hopefully they are isolating him to prevent possible spread as a precaution in case the full test comes back positive.
If the wrestler does test positive, they will test other rikishi in the heya. I hope it is negative and the wrestler gets treatment and recovers, mainly because of the close quarters and communal living style at a sumo stable. A nightmare scenario would look like some of the nursing home hot spots we have had in the US where poor decision-making led to tragedy. It will be very important to closely monitor rikishi for symptoms, identify and isolate any positive rikishi quickly but the heya should already do what it can to practice Social Distancing…which may not be feasible. We will provide an update tomorrow.