As a sports fan, I read almost every day about current athletes and coaches who test positive for the Wuhan coronavirus. Yesterday, for example, I learned that legendary Alabama football coach Nick Saban has tested positive. Twenty-one members of the University of Florida football team reportedly have, as well.
From Italy comes word that the Napoli soccer team was required by local authorities to be quarantined due to a couple of positive tests among its players. Oddly, Napoli is being penalized by Italian football authorities for not playing a match using players who tested negative, even though this would have meant violating the quarantine.
But here’s my question: Has any current athlete or coach died from the virus?
I follow American sports closely. I also follow five European soccer leagues with varying degrees of attention. I’m not aware of any athlete or coach whose life the virus has taken.
I know that the great Freddie Freeman feared he might die from the virus when his temperature approached 105 degrees. But Freeman was never hospitalized and his fever apparently broke pretty quickly.
I’m not saying that no current athlete or coach has died from the virus. I would bet that some have. I’m just not aware of it happening to any athletes or coaches in the many sports leagues I follow. This, despite a few hundred reports of positive tests among athletes and coaches in these leagues.
I conclude that if you’re young and healthy, the coronavirus poses virtually no threat of killing you. And if you’re middle aged and healthy (most coaches are, but Nick Saban is 68 years old), there is also very little risk.
I’m not one of those who says that, generally speaking, the coronavirus is like catching a cold or having the flu. For many people, it’s much worse.
But not for young, healthy people. In fact, for many of them, contracting the virus is better than having the flu, at least in terms of their personal health. That’s because many who test positive are entirely without symptoms.
I think the general public policy implications of this are fairly clear.