The new coronavirus has become one of the biggest stories of the winter, of course, and has impacted sports. The NPB played spring training games in empty venues and has announced a delay in the start of its season. Italy has shut down all sports while the epidemic is still widespread there. The Ivy League cancelled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. Other sporting events have been postponed or canceled as well. MLB, NHL, NBA, and MLS have all closed their locker rooms to all except essential personnel (and some media outlets have gallingly pontificated on the importance of access—note to them: this is entertainment, access is not really important at all).
So… will this disease result in game stoppage like in Japan? Might games go on but in empty parks? I don’t know. Maybe.
The epidemic has been ongoing in China for three months now and appears to be wearing down there now, so there is reason to expect it to be time limited although it is still ramping up else where. 90% of the fatalities in Italy have been 70 or older. That is a normal disease pattern—they are more dangerous to the old and infirm. This has been the pattern thus far here in the US too. About 3-5% of reported cases have been fatal, but it’s likely there are many more unreported cases as most people develop a fever and cough and get over it—many would not seek medical attention for that. The overall fatality rate is likely actually in the 1% range, which would be similar to influenzas. That’s not to minimize it at all. Speaking as a physician, I wish we took influenzas far more seriously.
Everyone, please, be vigilant about hand washing, stay safe and well.