Michigan Suspends Athletics for Two Weeks After Athletes Test Positive for New B.1.1.7 COVID-19 Variant

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The University of Michigan has postponed all athletics for two weeks after multiple athletes have tested positive for the new B.1.1.7 COVID1-19 variant, in a move first reported by The Michigan Daily's Ethan Sears. The school confirmed the decision Saturday night.

The suspension will start Sunday in order to comply with an order from the state health department after multiple athletes on several Michigan athletic teams tested positive for the new variant.

There are five confirmed cases of the new variant on Michigan athletic teams and 15 more presumed positives throughout the athletic department, according to the Daily. The strain is believed to stem from a Michigan athlete who recently traveled to the United Kingdom in the beginning of the semester. 

According to a release, 22 of Michigan's athletes tested positive for COVID-19 this week alone. The B.1.1.7 strain is believed to have originated in the United Kingdom and is more contagious than the novel coronavirus, according to the CDC. This new variant is projected to be the most common strain in the United States by March and has already been detected in 12 different states. 

Michigan would return to scheduled athletics on Feb. 6 if there are no setbacks. The men's basketball team, currently leading the Big Ten, and women's basketball team, currently tied for second in the conference, will each have to reschedule or cancel four games.