US Olympic gymnast tests positive for COVID-19

An alternate on the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team has tested positive for the coronavirus after arriving in Japan on July 15, Olympic officials confirmed on Monday. 

USA Today reported that Kara Eaker, who is 18 and was vaccinated against the virus, tested positive on Sunday, five days before the Olympic games were scheduled to start.

Eaker was training for the games in Narita, about 35 miles east of Tokyo, and was not with the rest of the Olympic team. She will have to isolate for at least seven days, and it was not clear whether she would be able to compete in the games.

Eaker’s coach Leanne Wong was deemed a close contact and will also quarantine. Her other coach Al Fong and wife Armine were not in close contact with Eaker and will not have to quarantine.

Eaker asymptomatic

The gymnast is reportedly asymptomatic so far. Several tests confirmed on Sunday that she had been infected with COVID-19, however.

She is one of four alternates on the Women’s Gymnastics team after qualifying at the Olympic trials last month.

The Olympics are following strict protocols and testing regimens in an attempt to prevent coronavirus infections during the games. Eaker was tested at home before coming to Japan and was negative, but the virus can take four to 14 days to show up on a positive test after infection occurs.

While fewer vaccinated individuals are becoming infected with COVID-19, breakthrough infections are not uncommon, particularly as the delta variant becomes predominant.

Usually, vaccinated individuals only get a mild case of the virus and recover quickly.

Others test positive at Olympics

USA Today also reported that 58 people associated with the Tokyo Olympics had tested positive for the virus since July 1, including several other athletes.

Two players on the South African men’s soccer team and a Czech beach volleyball player have tested positive and are residing in the Olympic Village, their respective Olympic committees had announced. Several other athletes tested positive before the games and will sit out the competition.

The games were originally scheduled for 2020, but were postponed due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus. At the time of the original games, no vaccines were yet available to increase the safety of the participants.

Even with vaccines, however, the International Olympic Committee decided not to allow fans into the games this year.

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