James Sutherland contributed to this report.
Australian swimmer Madi Wilson has been hospitalized in Naples, Italy as a result of a COVID-19 infection in spite of being fully vaccinated, she announced on Instagram this morning.
Wilson, who is a member of the LA Current, says she is “extremely disappointed” to not have raced in Match 8 earlier this week.
Wilson was fully-vaccinated with Pfzier before departing for the Tokyo Olympics in July, like most of her Australian teammates.
“I am extremely disappointed and upset not to be racing along side my teammates in match 8 here in the ISL. I recently tested positive for covid and yesterday was moved into hospital for further care and observation. Even though I am double vaccinated and took the right precaution set in place through the ISL, I have managed to fall to this virus. It’s been a crazy few months and I believe being run down physically and mentally may have made me more susceptible. I feel extremely unlucky but I do believe this is a huge wake up call, Covid is a serious thing and when it comes it hits very hard. I’d be stupid not to say I wasn’t scared. I’m so lucky for all my family, friends and support people. I can’t believe how much love I have been shown and I’m forever in debt to these people.”
Wilson told SwimSwam on Sunday that she has “no idea” where she might have caught the virus from. Wilson also says that she has asthma – individuals with asthmas are more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19, according to the CDC.
While hospitalizations of fully-vaccinated individuals are rare, they do happen. The CDC in the United States reports that vaccinated patients make up just 2% of people hospitalized for COVID-19.
Such cases are even rarer in Australia, which has much lower infection rates of COVID-19. While Australia is currently seeing its highest rates of COVID-19 infection of about 1,800 new cases daily, that rate of 7 cases/100,000 of population is still lower than most of the developed world. Cases have been rising globally as a result of the more infectious Delta variant.
Australia prioritized Olympians in its vaccination scheme, fearing that they might bring cases back from Japan to a country that, at the time, had almost no COVID-19 infections as a result of strict quarantining measures for individuals entering the country. In Tokyo, she finished 8th individually in the 200 free and won gold as a prelims-only swimmer in the 400 free relay and bronze as a finals leg of the 800 free relay.
Wilson, like most ISL participants, has been in Italy for weeks though, so that’s likely where she picked up the virus. Unlike last season in Budapest, athletes have not been in a full ‘bubble’ this season, and are free to go out into public, including bars and restaurants, within local guidelines. Those local guidelines include vaccine mandates for most indoor gathering places.
Athletes are still staying in their own rooms, however, which could be helping to keep the few infections from spreading throughout teams.
The ISL says that the same protocol was followed as for other infections this season, which means a brief quarantine for the Current team, which would have been released after other members tested negative. While a full accounting of positive tests have not been announced, SwimSwam has previously reported that the New York Breakers had an athlete test positive, while Iron had a staff member test positive (which is suspected to have been a false positive). The identities of those individuals have not been released.
Like in the prior two situations, the ISL says that nobody else on the team tested positive in follow-up testing.
Wilson was LA’s top scoring female through the club’s first three matches this season, compiling 108.5 points to sit 14th overall in the ISL upon the conclusion of Match 7.
She has swept the women’s 200 freestyle in all three of her match appearances, topping the field in Match 2, 4 and 5, and has also won the 400 free (Match 4) and 100 free (Match 5) during the season while also playing a pivotal role on relays.
The LA Current are currently in 3rd place in Match 8, 9 points ahead of the Tokyo Frog Kings
Italy has reported an average of 4,361 new cases of COVID-19 per day over the last week, which is about 7.2 cases/100,000 people, along with 57 deaths per day. Those reported case counts have been declining amid a push to get more individuals vaccinated. According to Bloomberg data, enough vaccines have been administered to cover 68.1% of Italy’s population
The nation has had over 4.6 million total cases and over 130,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, with over 113,00 current active cases.