MLB has a COVID-19 crisis on its hands less than one week into the 2020 season. As many as 17 members of the Miami Marlins, including 15 players, have tested positive in recent days. The outbreak forced not only the Marlins to postpone Monday's and Tuesday's games, but also the Yankees and Phillies because the Marlins played at Citizens Bank Park over the weekend.

Despite the Marlins outbreak, commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday the owners have not yet seriously discussed canceling the 2020 season. They believe they have the protocols in place (60-man player pool, taxi squad, etc.) to manage the outbreak and continue playing, so, for better or worse, manage the outbreak is what they will attempt to do.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warned the Marlins outbreak could put the season "in danger" during an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday. The Associated Press has a transcript:

"This could put it in danger," said Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert. "I don't believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day-by-day basis." 


"Major League Baseball -- the players, the owners, the managers -- have put a lot of effort into getting together and putting protocols that we feel would work," Fauci said. "It's very unfortunate what happened with the Miami (Marlins)." 

Rather than fly to Miami for their next series following Sunday's game, the Marlins remained in Philadelphia and were tested. Phillies personnel were also tested Monday after playing three games against the Marlins over the weekend. No Phillies tested positive during Monday's tests, though several members of the organization insisted on second round of tests Tuesday.

On Monday, Manfred said a team "losing a number of players that rendered it completely non-competitive would be an issue that we would have to address and have to think about making a change." The Marlins have lost half their 30-man active roster now, and apparently that does not meet the commissioner's criteria to "think about making a change."

COVID-19 carries up to a 14-day incubation period with a median of five days, meaning if Marlins or Phillies players were exposed over the weekend, it would not necessarily show up on Monday's (or Tuesday's) tests. The safest approach would be isolating both teams for several days and retesting before allowing them to resume play.

MLB players and support staff are given a saliva test every other day during the regular season, with the tests processed at a lab in Utah and results expected within 24 hours. Testing delays in summer camp led to MLB contracting a second lab at Rutgers University, which was used to process Monday's Marlins and Phillies tests.

Fauci, who has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Thursday's season opener at Nationals Park.