| LIFE CV-19: Effects on life, work, and sports

Next week, about 1800 college basketball players and a few hundred more coaches will fly in from college campuses around the country and congregate at multiple NCAA tournament sites.

Given the spread of COVID-19 around the United States and the uncertainty of how many people actually have it due to lack of testing, it's conceivable that someone participating in a tournament game will be carrying the virus. Let’s say that hypothetical person then tests positive a week later, at which point they’ve already come into close contact with two other teams who are in the Sweet 16.

What then?

Given that members of Congress are going into quarantine because they were in the same room with someone who later tested positive for COVID-19, it’s a question worth asking. What would you do with more than 20 basketball players and coaches who could potentially have been exposed to it but are still playing for a national championship?

As you grapple with that scenario — admittedly a hypothetical, but not one that is particularly far-fetched right now — it leads to an inevitable question.

Is it irresponsible to play the NCAA men's and women's tournaments this year?

The tone of the debate around what to do with college basketball’s showcase event has undeniably changed as of Tuesday.

The Ivy League cancelled its conference tournament. The governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine, put out a statement “asking for no events with spectators other than the athletes, parents, and others essential to the game,” which is significant since the First Four is in Dayton next Tuesday and Wednesday. The Mid-American and Big West conferences closed their tournaments to spectators.

The NCAA, after releasing a statement putting the onus on “schools and conferences” to determine what they should do with their conference championships, released another a few hours later with an entirely different tone.

“The NCAA continues to assess how COVID-19 impacts the conduct of our tournaments and events. We are consulting with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel, who are leading experts in epidemiology and public health, and will make decisions in the coming days.”

That suggests status quo is changing. The only question is to what degree.

Here’s the problem with the COVID-19 situation. We don’t know how many people have it or are going to get it, but we know it is spreading in the U.S. While the vast majority of people who get it will recover or suffer only mild symptoms, they can easily spread it to vulnerable groups who are more at-risk of serious illness or death.

For that reason, businesses are restricting employees from travel. Schools in some communities that have had cases are sending kids home, and colleges are taking their classes online. This isn’t about panic. Given the lack of treatment or vaccine, the only best answer doctors have given us for slowing this thing down is fewer person-to-person interactions, especially in places where we know there are cases.

Day by day, it is clear this is how every sector of society is going to operate in the short term. It is what we’re dealing with right now as a country. The idea that sports would somehow be an exception to that is arrogant at minimum and dangerous at worst.

The NCAA tournament is an event where thousands of college students from more than 100 schools — band members, cheerleaders, athletes — and tens of thousands of fans leave their towns and hop around the country to watch games in arenas where fans are elbow-to-elbow before returning home and interacting with their communities.

Given what we know, and especially what we don’t, that setup becomes increasingly risky, selfish and counterproductive to a society that may only be beginning to come to terms with the bigger picture. Again, depending on who you are, the problem with COVID-19 isn’t necessarily that you might get it, it’s who might get it from you.

But even if the NCAA decides to play games without fans, is that enough of a line being drawn? How risky is it really to put these amateur college athletes from various parts of the country on the court to play against one another without testing every single participant? Given the testing capacity right now, is that even going to be possible by Thursday?

And, God forbid, what happens if a player or coach who was on the court with a bunch of other players and coaches tests positive? In a tournament that takes place over three consecutive weeks, is that really a roll of the dice the NCAA wants to take?

These are real questions the NCAA needs to ask itself before going forward with its tournaments next week. Look, sports are very important and canceling the NCAA tournaments is a nightmare scenario. Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake. It would be awful to make that call.

But what’s the balance between overreacting and under-reacting? We might not be able to know that answer for certain before it’s too late.

This will be an unpopular notion, and one that will be called both an over-reaction and an opinion that’s politically motivated.

I assure you that it’s not, nor was it an easy one to come by. Having lived in Tuscaloosa for 16 years I fully understand the importance of A-Day – not only economically, but culturally and in recruiting.

Plus, I really, really hope I end up being wrong.

It’s time for Alabama to go ahead make the decision to make A-Day closed this year.

As I write/record this, there hasn’t been a confirmed case of the coronavirus in the state yet. A-Day is still more than a month away on April 18 and the Crimson Tide won’t open spring practice until Friday.

But there have been confirmed cases in the surrounding states, and as a nation we’re barely beginning to test people. Spring break is about to result in students traveling all over the world, from beaches to cruises and countries where the virus is already causing shutdowns. Sporting events are already being cancelled or closed, here and abroad.

Medical experts tell us this is only going worse. Outbreaks are expected as the virus can spread exponentially, meaning one person can quickly give it to untold numbers.

We’ve already seen that in places like Washington, Los Angeles and New York, and in numerous other countries. For example, in less than a month, Italy has gone from having only three cases of the coronavirus to the highest number of cases and deaths outside of China, where it originated. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had 631 deaths and 10,000-plus confirmed cases from throughout all 20 regions of the country.

For those who think this is a lot like the flu, please educate yourself some more about the situation. If you get the coronavirus and if it gets into your lungs there may not be a lot that can be done regardless of your age.

Moreover, we’re still in the early stages of this. The best estimates are that thousands of people will die. The worst are more than a million could perish. That’s not in the world, but the United States.

The university and the City of Tuscaloosa are already at a state of awareness, and borderline emergency, preparing for when, and not if, the virus will reach here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been warning Americans over the age of 60, especially those with underlying health conditions, to avoid unnecessary travel and to stay away from large crowds.

A-Day is the largest crowd this side of the state will have until the fall.

A-Day isn’t even a game that counts toward anything, it’s an exhibition. Moreover, Bryant-Denny Stadium is in the process of being renovated, which has already led to numerous logistical issues and limiting attendance to a maximum of 30,000-35,000. Those people will be in pretty tight as well.

How much fun are you going to have if following kickoff someone down the row sneezes or coughs? People will travel for A-Day from all over, places like Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia and Florida, four of the 30 states that already have confirmed cases.

However, if that doesn’t convince you, how about this: Imagine you go and get the coronavirus. It doesn’t kill you, but it does cause the death of someone you love.

That’s not worth any game, much less a scrimmage.
Interesting though....being in that age group...over 60....( but very healthy)
Daughter runs a nursing home also.....and her family at home...
Panic isn’t necessary.....but precautions are.....
Aday is one thing.....canmiss ( not because of c-virus)....
But its impact later on season....
Guess we will know more...when we see what NBA and MLB do....
Important to look at this through the lens of the timeline.

The NCPA floated this idea the last day of February...12 days ago. Per my understanding, the US had an approved test the end of last week, with Quest and other labs announcing they were ready late last week. We still have no idea just how bad this can get. It seems that China and South Korea have been able to mitigate this.


In regards to the Flu vs Covid-19... let's keep in mind the mortality rate of the Flu is .1%... so far the mortality rate of Covid-19 is 2-3%. Now I would expect that rate to drop once the infection rate is figured out with the people with mild symptoms, but even at a 1% mortality rate if Covid-19 infects as many people as the flu you're looking at 800,000 people dead... so... it's kinda a big deal.

I do agree the media is blowing this up... but we should all take some precautions too... or as Scrooge would "less we decrease the surplus population."
Important to look at this through the lens of the timeline.

The NCPA floated this idea the last day of February...12 days ago. Per my understanding, the US had an approved test the end of last week, with Quest and other labs announcing they were ready late last week. We still have no idea just how bad this can get. It seems that China and South Korea have been able to mitigate this.

This video was extremely eye-opening for me. While there is a lot of hysteria - some manufactured I would say - going around, the amount of people in very high positions that are trying to pass this off as no big deal or a "hoax" is much more alarming. I mean we had one DUI congressman walking around the House with a gas mask on attempting to mock the whole situation. Meanwhile one of his colleagues puts himself into quarantine because of coming into contact with Coronavirus. This shit aint funny.

I see people making comments about how "we aint got no cases down here", yeah that's because less than 50 people have been tested for the damn thing in this state. Another alarm bell.

Were a Democrat President we wouldn't be having this much media garbage.

If a Democrat were president maybe the CDC wouldn't have been gutted or the Pandemic Response Team fired....
631 deaths in Italy, ~10,000 confirmed cases.

The spread of this needs to be contained...so yeah, I'm absolutely fine with them doing what's needed to prevent the spread.

Nobody should be minimizing how serious this is.
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