The NHL has released the following statement surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic:
This comes on the heels of the NBA suspending its season indefinitely following Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert testing positive for the disease and potentially exposing many more players and arena employees in several cities. This morning, it was announced that fellow Jazz player Donovan Mitchell also tested positive.
The Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder were quarantined in the arena last night pending COVID-19 testing.
COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on Tuesday. The history of the virus, a novel strain of the coronavirus, can be found in this video:
Steps have been taken globally to slow the spread of the disease. In addition to measures taken in Italy on Tuesday including shutting down all restaurants and stores except drug stores and food stores, the United States government has begun to increase preventative measures.
In addition to the NBA suspending its season, the NCAA tournament announced that (for now, as of this writing), the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments would proceed without fans in the arenas to prevent the close spread of the disease. Most conference tournaments have now been canceled.
No one really knows how far this will go. Doctor Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said Tuesday in testimony to Congress that “this will get worse before it gets better.” In the meantime, this is the the current case trend line.
Tuesday night, Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg took the sidelines with flu-like symptoms (with no one apparently stopping him). The result?
A source confirmed to @NBCSports that Fred Hoiberg has been taken to the hospital. There's concern that the Nebraska team is going to have to be quarantined.— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) March 12, 2020
Knowing the severity of what's going on, allowing him to coach tonight was incredibly reckless by everyone at Nebraska.
The Nebraska basketball team is being quarantined in their locker room. Their coach is likely already at the hospital. More here: https://t.co/jMQ7DK3mxp— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) March 12, 2020
Several other leagues have also suspended play.
MLS is suspending its season immediately until further notice due to coronavirus, a source with knowledge of the situation tells Sports Illustrated.— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) March 12, 2020
The Atlantic 10 has cancelled its conference tournament in Brooklyn, per release.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 12, 2020
The Big Ten Tournament has been cancelled, per release.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 12, 2020
This is not a joke. This is not an exaggeration. This is a public health crisis.
It is of paramount importance that people take precautions which, according to the CDC, can help to protect yourself and loved ones:
Clean your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Clean and disinfect
- Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
- If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Stay home if you’re sick
- Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
In addition, the United States State Department has announced that people should reconsider international travel. I canceled my trip to see the Hockey Hall of Fame and the CBJ in Toronto last night.
New: State Department issues global Level 3 travel alert, advising Americans to reconsider all travel abroad. "Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice."— Nicholas Wadhams (@nwadhams) March 12, 2020
This is not a hoax, and is not something to take lightly. As Doctor Fauci laid out in his testimony yesterday, this is far more deadly.
Dr. Anthony Fauci tells the House Oversight Committee that #coronavirus has a mortality rate of 1 percent and that's 10 times the 0.1 percent mortality rate of the flu. "This is really a serious problem," he says.— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 11, 2020
Look, I’m as upset about the loss of sports as anyone. The Dayton Flyers are having their best season in school history and now might not (likely will not) ever get a chance to finish it, only to be remembered alongside a team like the 1994 Montreal Expos.
Selfishly, it sucks. Here’s a great take from our friends at And The Valley Shook relating to that. But you know what else they say? Protecting the public is more important than sports.
And they’re right.
Sports are a great escape, but putting people’s health at risk is never worth it. We all know people who could be affected - elderly family members and friends, loved ones with chronic health issues that we could infect simply by interacting while asymptomatic. Is a sporting event worth that risk?
This has become a crisis. We as a society cannot afford to be selfish right now. We have to think about bigger problems, bigger goals, and more important outcomes for the public writ large than rather the Columbus Blue Jackets will make the playoffs or whether the Dayton Flyers will make the Final Four.
Lives are on the line, and lives are more important than a sporting event.