On the 17th of November, a group of Chinese doctors in Wuhan were approached by a patient. Upon examining him properly, the doctors found some groundbreaking results. They concluded that the patient had been infected by a virus which was quite similar to the SARS virus of 2002, but not quite the same. Whatever it was, the doctors had deciphered that it was deadly. When they tried to announce these discoveries of theirs, the world was not ready to pay any heed. The Chinese Government itself tried to restrict any news about this discovery and the media were busy with other things . Little did they know that this seemingly unimportant discovery would be the result of almost 5,000 deaths and would potentially cause the greatest economic downfall since the 2007-08 global financial crisis.
The Coronavirus,or COVID-19 has spread quicker than wildfires in Australia (too early for jokes right now?). And it hasn’t just spread, it has caused mass destruction. Not in an obvious way, but in a slow but sure way. There are always three unofficial stages of an epidemic or a pandemic, as COVID-19 has been categorized. The first is denial. This is where people really don’t take the disease seriously, and just let it be. If steps are taken during this stage itself, then the disease can very easily be contained, but of course our human nature does not allow us to do things until it becomes an absolute necessity to do them. For the COVID-19, this stage was every single day between 17th November and mid-February.
The second stage is the waking up of the world. A sudden burst of cases usually does the trick here. In the case of COVID-19, there were 19,572 reported cases worldwide on February 17th. Sure enough this got ‘#cornoravirus’ (Yes, they spelt it wrong, not a typo) trending on twitter and from then on, most of you must be aware of because let’s be honest, you also started getting to know about the virus after this sudden outbreak. The third and the stage that we are currently on is huge measures being taken and widespread panic. It is a little ironic that we would never have had to take even half the measures that we currently are, if the authorities had just acted a little responsive when the virus was first discovered.
Yes, I am deeply saddened to see the deaths, the threat to students’ education, the cancelling of all-important business trips and meetings, and countless other inconveniences that have been caused by this outbreak, to say the least. But there was nothing that upset me more than the effect it had on the world of sport! After all, my whole life does revolve around what game I will watch at this time, and which one at that time. I plan my study, sleep and basically my whole schedule around that. And now, I have suddenly been hit with ‘All matches have been postponed till at least Mid-April’, by all the sports leagues an teams that I watch. The Bundesliga, the UEFA Champions League, the Premier League, the MLB and of course, the IPL,all of them have suspended all their games happening anytime soon until further notice. In fact, there is literally no high-tier sports being played anywhere! Now what am I supposed to do with my life?
Yes, the teams and the leagues have to follow instructions from the government and the authorities up top, but there could definitely have been other approaches. The most logical and the most popular one seems to be to play the games behind closed doors in empty stadiums. This does seem like the best strategy and we have seen most of the sporting world use this strategy but there are loopholes in this too. The teams will lose out on all their ticketing revenue which means that everyone will earn less, the players, the officials, the authorities, everyone. Secondly, this method doesn’t completely finish the risk of being infected by the virus either. If a player or someone on the pitch has the disease, then everyone on the pitch is in danger. We have seen big names like Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, Chelsea winger prodigy, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Olympiakos FC’s chairman and Australia’s pace sensation Kane Richardson, all testing positive for the virus. These are all people that the players regularly come into contact with. So in such a scenario, cancelling matches and sending players into self quarantine seems to be the only completely safe option left.
For my opinion on the leagues being scrapped and games being cancelled, all I can say that with a heavy heart, I stand by it. Safety comes first. Yes, the way the Bundesliga are planning to go about it (ending the season without giving any team the title of champions) would definitely be unfair to the top-spot team (currently Bayern), but I can’t say that I am willing to put the risk of thousands of spectators just to see my team win, especially when they are sports fans just like me who simply came to watch and enjoy a match.
The events that I talked about till now are all yearly events, they happen every year. If they scrap a season, it will be sad for sure but not unimaginable. We might just see THE OLYMPICS being scrapped this year. Yes guys, the olympics. As Trevor Noah had explained, the only other thing that has ever got an Olympics to be cancelled was the World War. So, COVID-19 is potentially a WORLD WAR LEVEL THREAT. Soak it in. And remember, it is not overrated, this virus has to be taken seriously. The ebola and polio viruses became as widespread as they did because of the ignorance that some people are now showing for the COVID-19. Stay alert and mindful for sure, and do not take the virus too lightly ( or too seriously 🙂 ).