Gators' COVID-19 outbreak probably started on the plane ride to Texas

Robbie Andreu
Gator Sports

 Florida coach Dan Mullen said he believes the origin of the Gators’ COVID-19 outbreak didn’t come in Texas two weeks ago, but on the plane ride there for the game against Texas A&M.

 “Obviously, I think it started on the plane ride there,” he said Wednesday on the SEC coaches teleconference. “One or two guys might have been positive getting on the plane that had just tested negative the day before. It kind of started with a little bit of a spread there.”

 That spread only expanded over the course of the trip. It eventually led to 25 players testing positive last week and the football team being shut down and two games (LSU and Missouri) being postponed.

 “(After the plane ride) you go into, ‘OK, one guy had a roommate on the road,’ ” Mullen said. “So it spread to that roommate. Then you had a pregame meal where these people sat at a table, where it was spread. Then the plane ride home where that spread.”

 Mullen said there were other aspects of the road trip that also likely contributed to the outbreak, including a cramped visiting locker room at Kyle Field.

 “Someone’s locker was next to somebody (who had contracted the virus),” he said. “When you go on the road, the locker rooms are much smaller. We’ll look at some of those things as we move forward. We might have to look at how we utilize a road locker.

 “I think (origin of the outbreak) certainly was from the trip. I don’t think it was from one specific aspect of it. It just started on the trip and a lot of different things happen on a road game that obviously put you at a high risk than you would if you were playing a home game.”