No. 5 Georgia may be coming off a huge season-opening win over No. 3 Clemson, but Kirby Smart isn’t celebrating much.
With a new outbreak of COVID-19 working through his program, the Bulldogs coach said Monday that he is more worried now than at any other point during the pandemic.
“I’ll be honest with you guys, I’m as concerned as I’ve ever been because we have three or four guys out,” Smart said, via the Athens Banner-Herald. “We gave a couple staff members that have been out with COVID here recently. For us, we’re at our highest spike.”
Smart said his team is more than 90% vaccinated and that the handful of cases he’s seeing are with vaccinated people. He declined to identify who tested positive other than Georgia’s director of sports medicine Ron Courson.
The fact that these are breakthrough cases, he said, makes it even more stressful.
“We’re talking about breakthroughs,” he said, via the Athens Banner-Herald. “That concerns you, not only for players on the team that are unvaccinated that are playing and not playing because we want everybody to be safe, but it concerns for players that are vaccinated that we could lose them. This is the highest we've been since fall camp right now."
The Southeast region of the United States is currently dealing with the largest coronavirus outbreak in the country. Georgia is averaging nearly 9,000 new cases each day, according to The New York Times, a 17% increase in the past two weeks. About 42% of Georgians are vaccinated, a figure that is better than just seven other states.
Georgia will host UAB on Saturday — the Bulldogs opened as -26.5-point favorites on BetMGM — before returning to SEC play on Sept. 18 when South Carolina treks to Athens. Though it’s unclear how the Bulldogs’ outbreak will impact those games, and the rest of the season, it’s easy to see why Smart is so concerned.