United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Coronavirus Updates

Our focus remains on the well-being of our Olympic and Paralympic community and being ready for the Games. The USOPC is working collaboratively with Tokyo Organizing Committee, Japanese government, the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee to continue planning mitigation strategies to ensure a safe and positive experience for all. 

The Office of the Athlete Ombuds is available to provide independent and confidential advice to elite Team USA athletes on sport-related rules, policies and processes. Athletes who have specific questions about their health and the risk factors of traveling should seek advice from their medical professionals and public health officials. Athletes may contact the Office of the Athlete Ombuds at ombudsman@usathlete.org or 719-866-5000 with questions, or visit usathlete.org for more information.

Latest Tokyo 2020 Key Updates

Team USA COVID Liaison Officers will be responsible for ensuring all delegation members are fully informed of and comply with the participant rules and countermeasures outlined in the Playbooks. Please contact the CLOs at usopc.clo@usopc.org with any questions. Read the latest updates here.  

  • Medication. There are strict regulations around medications for those traveling to Japan. If you are taking any medications, please read through the list of banned and restricted medications in Japan.
  • Pre-departure Testing and Entry into Japan. All Games participants will be required to submit two negative COVID-19 PCR tests within 96 hours prior to departure for Japan. The second test must be administered no less than 24 hours after the first test (i.e. within 72 hours of departure) in the mandatory certificate format. The USOPC is exploring options to provide kits to Team USA delegation members to allow for self-administered, at-home testing prior to departure.

USOPC COVID-19 Policies and Procedures

Games Participant Rules – COVID-19 Mitigation Rules
View the latest Playbooks released by the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee, the IOC and IPC that outline COVID countermeasures and policies to ensure a safe environment. Based on these measures, the USOPC has released its Games Participant Rules – COVID-19 Mitigation Measures.

U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Trials Participant Rules – COVID-9 Mitigation Measures
Developed by the Team USA Delegation Rules COVID Safety Working Group, the rules are intended to provide clear guidance to NGBs to protect against, safeguard and eliminate the spread of COVID-19 at U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Trials.

USOPTC Re-Entry Playbook
The USOPC has developed an infectious disease management strategy designed to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 at USOPC facilities and events. This OPTC Training Center Playbook will cover behaviors and practices to help promote a healthy and safe environment and will be updated as guidance from state and public health officials change. 

Team USA Selection Procedures
The Guiding Principles for Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Selection Procedures were created as a result of the postponement of the Games in an effort to protect the opportunities of athletes to participate and to assist NGBs/HPMOs with clarity of expectations when considering amendments to selection procedures.

Vaccine Information

With COVID-19 vaccines now widely available across the country and open to all individuals ages 16 and older, the USOPC is encouraging all Team USA athletes and those who support them to use their state system to access the vaccine locally wherever they live.

Visit this NPR article for a list of vaccination locations in your area and more information on how to schedule an appointment. For support in sourcing local vaccination resources, please contact a USOPC health care navigator at (800) 933-4473, Ext. 2 or athletehealthcare@usopc.org.

Travel Information and Guidance

Travel Abroad 
Please continue to monitor the COVID-19 International Sport Travel Policy Overview for updates across Team USA’s most common destinations.    
  • NOTE - Please also monitor the policies at all layover locations in your itinerary, as some airports and countries may have regulations that apply to passengers in transit.
  • The policies in the linked document are specifically for sport-related travel. Entry and travel regulations may differ if traveling for tourist or other purposes.
Additional links that may be helpful for trip-planning and evaluation purposes:
United Airlines also offers a helpful trip planning tool, called the Travel-Ready Center, which helps passengers monitor and find resources for the latest COVID travel policies and testing requirements.
  • Please be sure to monitor the policies for your air carrier during travel. 
Travel to the U.S.
National Interest Exemption Waivers – Several Presidential proclamations have limited the entry of certain travelers into the United States from a list of COVID-restricted countries
  • Applicants that have recently been in, or transited through India, Brazil, China, India, Iran, South Africa, and several European countries must request a waiver for entry. 
    • Please contact Nick Lowenthal at least 10 days ahead of the date of travel for instructions and to allow enough time for application processing.  
  • Please note that U.S. citizens and long-term residents do not need a 212(f) National Interest Exemption waiver. 
CDC Requirements for All Air Passengers Arriving/Returning to the United States
The CDC requires that travelers are tested no more than 3 days before their travel by air into the U.S. Proof of this negative result must be provided to the airline prior to boarding the return flight. 
  • If the passenger has tested positive within the past 3 months, “documentation of recovery” (recent positive test and letter from a healthcare provider) will also be accepted.
  • Antigen or NAAT tests (including RT-PCR, RE-LAMP, TMA, NEAR, and HDA tests) are accepted for this requirement.
  • Full details of this requirement are located here.
The CDC recommends that travelers are tested again 3-5 days after travel and self-quarantine for 7 days after travel (even if this after-arrival test result is negative).
  • If the passenger is not tested, it is recommended that they stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
  • Travelers should also follow all state and local requirements and recommendations after travel. 
  • Full details of these recommendations are located here.

Mental Health Resources

It’s expected and understandable that with that uncertainty may come stress and anxiety, which is why our focus on mental health and overall well-being – for the athletes we serve, for one another and for our greater community – is more important than ever before. Please refer to TeamUSA.org/MentalHealth for more information.

Additional Information & Resources

The USOPC COVID-19 Working Group is inclusive of medical and security personnel, athletes and National Governing Bodies, who continue to work closely with domestic and international professionals to ensure we are adhering to public health guidelines and taking a fact-based approach as we closely monitor the environment to keep us all healthy and safe.

Coronavirus is a family of viruses that can cause respiratory infections similar to influenza or the “flu.” Coronavirus can be found in both humans and animals, and occasionally, coronaviruses found in animals can spread to people and cause respiratory infections. Previous examples of this include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

The current coronavirus outbreak is being caused by a virus named SARS CoV-2 and the disease it causes is coronavirus disease 2019, or “COVID-19.” This virus appears to have originated in bats, but we aren’t sure what type of animal transmitted it to humans. The outbreak began in a seafood and live animal market in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. The virus was first identified in a patient on Dec. 30, 2019. China implemented a vigorous public health effort to try and limit the spread of the virus, rapidly identify those who are infected and implement appropriate supportive treatments to reduce the number of deaths associated with the disease. The number of cases of COVID-19 have fluctuated since that time.

COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.  The CDC provides up to date information regarding the countries with confirmed COVID-19 cases. It is apparent that the widespread presence of COVID-19 increases the likelihood of exposure to this disease. Therefore, it is important for athletes and staff to be aware of the situation, take appropriate precautions to prevent infection, understand when they should seek medical treatment, and what resources are available to keep informed.

What is the big deal about COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus. What that means is our immune systems haven’t been exposed to it previously and aren’t very good at fighting the virus. Thankfully, several vaccines have been developed and our population is gradually getting vaccinated, which should substantially reduce the risk of acquiring COVID-19 in the future.  While there are treatments that help reduce the severity, death rates, and duration of disease in those with more severe infection and/or at high risk for severe infection, for those with mild to moderate symptoms the primary treatment is supportive care, which means treating the symptoms. Unfortunately, there are still hundreds of thousands of people getting infected and thousands of people dying from COVID-19 around the world every day. This is why it is so important to prevent the spread of the infection.

How does it spread?
The virus is spread through respiratory droplets and contact with surfaces that have the virus on it. Respiratory droplets are produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The droplets can land on the mouths or noses of people around them, or on a surface. If a person touches the droplets on a surface and then touches their mouth, nose, or eyes, they can become infected. It may also be on the hands of the person who is coughing or sneezing. If they then touch another person or a surface, they can transmit the virus to that person or surface.

Although it is possible that the disease may be transmitted by someone before they have symptoms, it is thought that they are most contagious when they are symptomatic.

Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms develop between 2 and 14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms typically include fever (> 101), fatigue, cough (dry or productive), and shortness of breath. Other symptoms include loss of the sense of smell or taste, sore throat, headache, muscle and joint pain, chills, nausea or vomiting, congestion or diarrhea.

When to go to the doctor
You should be evaluated by a doctor if you have been with people known to have COVID-19 or live in an area or recently traveled to or from an area with known cases of COVID-19 and you subsequently have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.

Be sure to call ahead to let the health care team know that you are coming to see them and that you have symptoms suggestive of a respiratory infection so they can prepare for your arrival and take the necessary steps to protect health care workers and other patients.

Be sure to wear your face mask to the clinic or hospital. Use appropriate cough etiquette (ie: cough into a tissue or your elbow). You should wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water if you cough on your hands and frequently use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. You will also typically be placed in a room away from other people.

In the United States, health care providers are taking oral and nasal swabs and collecting phlegm from coughing and testing it to determine if you have COVID-19.

Treatments include those that reduce symptoms (i.e.: acetaminophen for fever, cough suppressants, decongestants, etc.), antibody treatment for those at risk for severe disease, or anti-viral and steroid medications for those with moderate to severe disease. For more severe cases, patients may need extra oxygen or to be on a ventilator to help them breath.

Disease Severity
In China, 80% of people with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, 13.8% have severe disease, and 6.1% are critical, with a death rate of approximately 3.8%. People at the highest risk are those over 60 years of age, and those with underlying medical problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease or cancer. Children under 19 years of age are rarely infected (only 2.4% of cases) and typically have less severe symptoms.

The following are ways you can reduce your risk of becoming infected:

  1. Avoid getting closer than 6 feet to anyone coughing or sneezing.

  2. Wear one or two face masks when in public.

  3. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds (i.e. time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice) or use hand sanitizer that has 60-95% alcohol. This is especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating, or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  5. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow. Throw the tissue in the trash, and then wash your hands.

  6. Stay home if you are sick.

  7. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly (i.e. keyboard, airplane seat armrests and tray table, and door knobs).

  8. Monitor the WHO and CDC websites for travel advisories and follow their recommendations.