A lower division wrestler tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday after experiencing a fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, and bloody phlegm. His symptoms began on April 4th, and he was promptly isolated from his stablemates.
He has been in the hospital since the 8th and is undergoing treatment. According to spokesman Shibatayama, his physical condition is stable, but all is not calm in the tight knit world of professional sumo.
“Infectious disease will not just affect a single person. We’ve realized it’s in our midst now,” said Shibatayama. The worry is that with the number of wrestlers living in close quarters at each stable, the disease could spread quickly from this individual case.
On receiving the news of the infected wrestler, the JSA questioned all 45 stables on their implementation of masks, hand sanitizer, cessation of practice, etc., and found that all stables were compliant, and no other members have reported symptoms yet. Shibatayama-oyakata said that when it comes to administering possible PCR tests for other members of the association, “this will be carried out under the guidance of a health care center.”
With the situation at hand likely proliferating, the already postponed May tournament in Tokyo could see further postponement or even cancellation.
As for the identity of the infected wrestler, his name and affiliated stable will not be made public. In the case of salaried rikishi and coaches however, if they were to contract the virus, as a general rule their identities can be revealed.