Practically no COVID-19 illnesses among professional athletes

In another example of data that shows the coronavirus is essentially harmless to the young and healthy, there have been practically no deaths or even serious illnesses among professional athletes, even though these athletes have been aggressively tested for COVID-19, resulting in a lot of positive tests.

Despite hundreds of thousands of tests, vanishingly few serious cases have been reported among professional athletes. Most players testing positive had apparently few or no symptoms.

…What’s clear from the statistics that are made available, though, is that the infection rate for those athletes involved in return to play is vanishingly small, and that they may have been more protected by resuming work with their teams, especially as societies gradually reopened. The Premier League, for instance, ran some 20,500 tests in its 14 rounds between the middle of May and mid-July. According to the league’s own website, only 20 players tested positive, a rate of just 0.1 percent, or about one in 1,000 tests—lower than most estimates for the virus’s spread throughout the general population.

In the rare cases where more detailed reporting is available, it’s notable that even among the small number of positive cases, few players developed symptoms. Though news of the first ten German players to test positive prompted speculation that the league would call off the restart, none of those ten displayed symptoms. Shortly before the European women’s Champions League was to resume in mid-August, officials announced five positive tests among players at Spain’s Athletico Madrid, but subsequent reporting showed that all five were asymptomatic. When 16 NBA players tested positive in late June heading to the league’s “bubble” in Orlando, league commissioner Adam Silver noted all were either asymptomatic or displayed mild symptoms.

We have become insanely afraid of a relatively normal respiratory virus, that poses no threat to the general population at all, and requires no extreme measures. If anything, the best thing we could do is go about our lives normally, allowing the virus’s harmless spread through that general population to eventually kill it off.

This common sense approach, which the human race has followed throughout history, is no longer acceptable. Instead, we must do stupid things, such as this: Soccer team loses 37-0 in socially distanced match:

A German football team lost 37-0 to their local rivals after fielding only seven players who socially distanced throughout the match. Ripdorf fielded the minimum number of players on Sunday because their opponents SV Holdenstedt II came into contact in a previous game with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. Their team tested negative but Ripdorf said the conditions were not safe. If Ripdorf had not played, they would have faced a €200 (£182) fine.

During the game Ripdorf players were ordered to never get closer than six feet to anyone. Holdenstedt took full advantage, scoring every time they got the ball. As the Holdenstedt coach said quite logically, “There was no reason not to play this game.”

Logic and ordinary courage however no longer applies in the dark age that has now arrived. Instead, we must fear everything. like stone age savages huddled in their caves at the sound of thunder.

New York Mets – September 24, 1969

An evening pause: This pause was first posted by me back in 2011. As tonight is the fiftieth anniversary of that grand moment, I post it again, if only to remind the jaded and pessimistic youth of today that miracles really can happen. As I wrote then,

In 1969 the lowly New York Mets, doormats in the National League from the moment the team was created in 1962, came out of nowhere to win the pennant and the World Championship of baseball. … I and my friend Lloyd attended the game in which the Mets clinched first place in the National League Eastern Division. Below is video showing highlights of the game plus the final out, with the crowd pouring onto the field. Though you can’t see me, I am in that crowd, jumping for joy at this most unlikely sports miracle. There was no rioting, only happy fans chanting “We’re number one!” in exuberant disbelief.

And I still have that small piece of turf from Shea Stadium, collected on that night, proof that the unexpected and improbable is always possible.

The unlikeliness of the Mets championship in 1969 cannot be overstated. Before 1969, the team had never finished higher than next to last, each season losing more games than they won. Then, in 1969 they posted a 100-62 record, while coming from far back to overtake the favored Chicago Cubs for the pennant. Moreover, during that 1969 season all kinds of unusual things kept happening. To give just one example, they won a double header by scores of 1-0, with the pitcher in both games driving in the winning run.

As their first manager and Hall-of-Famer Casey Stengel would say, “You could look it up!”

In 1973 the Mets won the pennant again, following the motto “You gotta believe!” pushed by their relief pitcher Tug McGraw. McGraw was so right. Combine talent, dedication, hard work, and an unwavering belief that all things are possible, humans can sometimes do amazing things.

The fastest snooker break ever

An evening pause: The rules of snooker are not clear to me, but it appears that this man, Ronnie O’Sullivan, is one of the world’s best players. Do a youtube search and you’ll come up with dozens of videos of him doing amazing things at the pool table. Below, he clears the table in less than five minutes, getting the maximum possible score for this game by dropping alternatively differently colored balls. To quote the youtube webpage, “The aim is to pot a red followed by a colour, any colour. Reds = 1Yellow = 2Green = 3Brown = 4Blue = 5Pink = 6Black = 7. So the 147 is only possible if you go red, black, red, black etc.” O’Sullivan gets 147 and does it in record time.

New York Mets – September 24, 1969

An evening pause: In 1969 the lowly New York Mets, doormats in the National League from the moment the team was created in 1962, came out of nowhere to win the pennant and the World Championship of baseball. Forty-two years ago tonight I and my friend Lloyd attended the game in which the Mets clinched first place in the National League Eastern Division. Below is video showing highlights of the game plus the final out, with the crowd pouring onto the field. Though you can’t see me, I am in that crowd, jumping for joy at this most unlikely sports miracle. There was no rioting, only happy fans chanting “We’re number one!” in exuberant disbelief.

And I still have that small piece of turf from Shea Stadium, collected on that night, proof that the unexpected and improbable is always possible.

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