11 at Olympics Are in Hospital With COVID

US bobsled team deals with several cases
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2022 6:15 PM CST
COVID Sends 11 at Olympics to Hospital
American bobsledder Elana Meyers Taylor remains hopeful of being able to compete in Beijing.   (Caroline Seidel/dpa via AP)

(Newser) – Days before the Winter Olympics begin, officials in Beijing said 11 people at the Games are hospitalized with cases of COVID-19. The infections were said to not be life threatening, the Guardian reports. Since Jan. 23, 232 cases have been reported. Dr. Brian McCloskey, chair of the panel of medical experts, did not sound concerned at a news conference about athletes missing their events. "The vast majority of people who have tested positive are well, a lot of them are asymptomatic," he said. The 11 were hospitalized "because they had a symptom," McCloskey said, adding that "none of those are seriously ill in any way."

The US bobsled team is dealing with its own outbreak, per NPR. One of those who tested positive is three-medal winner Elana Meyers Taylor, 37, who's in an isolation hotel. Bobsledder Josh Williamson also said he's infected. Coaches and support staff members have tested positive, as well, per Yahoo Sports. "It's all a nightmare," one athlete said. Meyers Taylor said she's remaining hopeful of being able to compete; the Games open Friday, and bobsled events begin in the second week. "This is just the latest obstacle that my family and I have faced on this journey," she said.

A Belgian athlete's tearful Instagram story about her COVID isolation brought action from the International Olympic Committee, per the New York Times. Kim Meylemans, a skeleton racer, had tested negative a dozen times after recovering from a case of COVID contracted early last month. But she tested positive when she arrived in Beijing and was sent to isolation, where she's allowed "no contact with anybody else," she said, per Axios. She posted, "I'm not sure I can handle 14 more days and the Olympic competition while being in this isolation." Late Wednesday night, she was moved to isolation in the Olympic Village. "At least I'm back in the village," Meylemans posted. "I feel safe." (Read more 2022 Beijing Olympics stories.)

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