COVID-19 and sports
By Xavier Sanchez
The world is facing a major health crisis called COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus, which continues to accumulate cases across the country. Since the outbreak, focus has been on the health of people and prevention of spreading the disease. As a result, professional and collegiate sports leagues have been expressing concern, evaluating what they need to do to protect their members while also avoiding game cancellations at all costs.
Once the disease reached Oregon, Portland Trailblazers player CJ McCollum, took to Twitter make sure his followers wash their hands. He goes on to include, in order to stop the spread, that he’s no longer signing autographs for fans until further notice.
This Mar., the NBA was set to launch its Basketball Africa League (BAL) but the Senegalese Government advised the League president, Amadou Gallo Fall, over the “escalating health concerns related to the Coronavirus,” to postpone the event.
NBA insider, Shams Charania, reported that the NBA has sent memos out to its franchises explaining that teams should be prepared to play with empty stands. Teams are preparing to limit to “essential staff” only for these games and have even discussed locker room protocol. The league plans to allow only players and team personnel into the locker rooms, strictly keeping the media out.
Division 3 Basketball
Coronavirus has also impacted collegiate hoops as well. Johns Hopkins University was the host of the opening two rounds of the NCAA Division III men’s basketball tournament in Baltimore. The University announced the games would be played without any spectators, including player’s family members.
“We’re just doing our due diligence to make sure that everybody has a safe environment to compete in,” said Ernie Larossa, Johns Hopkins director of athletic communications.
The Italian Government established a new decree in the wake of the Coronavirus that prevents fans from attending any sporting event in Italy for the next month. They also ordered schools and universities to be closed until Mar. 15.
For the second time in its history, the Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship has been canceled because of concerns surrounding the Coronavirus. The last cancellation was in 2003 due to the SARS outbreak. The tournament was supposed to take place in Halifax and Truro, Nova Scotia, Ccanada beginning Mar. 31 and run through Apr. 10.
Since Coronavirus is rather new and we still have much to learn, it’s uncertain whether or not these measures will be necessary. But it never hurts to be cautious.