On the heels of the World Health Organization’s upgrading of COVID-19 to “pandemic” status, a number of major sports organizations in the United States are struggling to properly prepare for the illness.
The CDC has long insisted that a majority of Americans will not face serious symptoms of the virus, which behaves much like a sneaky viral pneumonia, thanks to its fourteen day incubation period.
But that rosy assessment comes with a caveat: Preventing the spread of the disease is incredibly difficult, and COVID-19 can be a very serious illness for at-risk populations such as the elderly. In essence, carriers of the disease are likely more dangerous than the disease itself, and we must do everything in our power to mitigate the risk of infection.
In that vein, a number of American cities are imposing strict rules about public gatherings that could affect the sporting world inordinately.
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The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told a congressional committee Wednesday that he would recommend the NBA not allow fans at games in response to the coronavirus.
That answer by Dr. Anthony Fauci came hours before NBA owners are scheduled to meet to discuss the next steps in responding to the growing concern about the virus.
Fauci was responding to a question from Rep. Glenn Grothman, a Wisconsin Republican, during a meeting of the House Oversight Committee.
Fauci’s warning was stark.
“We would recommend that there not be large crowds,” Fauci said. “If that means not having any people in the audience when the NBA plays, so be it. But as a public health official, anything that has crowds is something that would give a risk to spread.”
It is expected that other leagues in other sports could soon follow suit.
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