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NHL suspends season due to coronavirus concerns

Here’s the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic from the NHL.

Montreal Canadiens v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

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?

Several other leagues have also suspended play.

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

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.

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.

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.