“We are lucky, we were preserved by the Covid this summer. »Was this close to the locker room intoxicated by the Marseille sun when he said this sentence in mid-August? Two weeks later, this superstitious who “touched wood” observed a hell of a backlash: OM announced on Tuesday three suspected cases of coronavirus within its professional workforce. It would therefore be eight Marseille players who would be affected, after the contaminations of Jordan Amavi, Valentin Rongier, Maxime Lopez, Steve Mandanda and Dimitri Payet, this time it is Alvaro, Sarr and Simon who, according to Provence would have been infected. “We knew that could happen,” sighs another source near the locker room.
The epidemic is experiencing, it is true, a strong rebound in the Bouches-du-Rhône. The incidence rate soared last week to 131.4 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population. Against 87 a week earlier. This is much more than the alert threshold, set at 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In this context, should OM’s medical service have better protected its players?
“I do not see what more can be done”, plague the Commanderie, before detailing a “very strict” protocol: one serological test per month, nasal PCR tests each week and a new check forty-eight hours before each match. The “covids” are isolated from the group, sent “to complete rest” and retested every three days, until they are cured.
“It is probably not on the grounds that the players were contaminated”
“Obviously, the barrier measures are not fully respected at OM”, launches infectious disease specialist François Bricaire, former head of department at Pitié-Salpêtrière. But he does not overwhelm the club: “Contacts are natural on a field. And when we run out of steam, we send more postilions into the air, so more viruses. »Should footballers be tested daily? “In theory yes, but it’s very complicated to organize,” concludes François Bricaire.
For epidemiologist Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute of Global Health (Geneva), “it is probably not on the fields that Marseille players were contaminated, but rather in bars, restaurants or parties. “A summer relaxation denied by the club:” We are dealing with fathers who want to resume competition. They’re not going to screw up in a club! “
The staff of André Villas-Boas are trying to prepare the team normally for Brest-OM, scheduled for this Sunday evening. Without having any illusions: “We are in the same situation as before the postponement of OM-ASSE,” recalls a leader. The LFP can decide to postpone a match “if a team has more than three players or isolated supervisors over eight rolling days. The Covid commission is expected to issue its opinion on Wednesday. This Tuesday, its members “studied the file”. And kept silent.