Now we know what it takes to shut down (at least temporarily) a major professional sports league. One person. Yep, a single player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus shortly before their scheduled game against Oklahoma City and the game was canceled, followed shortly by the suspension of all games for the entire league. So was this a sensible precaution or a massive overreaction? (Townhall)
The National Basketball Association announced Wednesday evening that it would be suspending the remainder of the season amid growing concern over the Wuhan virus. The decision comes after a player tested positive for the foreign virus which originated in China.
“The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19,” an official release from the NBA stated. “The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of Wednesday’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, Wednesday’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.”
It’s really starting to feel like the whole world is shutting down. We learned last night that President Trump was temporarily suspending all travel to the United States from Europe after we’d already paused flights from most of Asia. Parades are being canceled right and left. The NCAA will be playing games in front of empty stands, assuming one of their players doesn’t test positive and they wind up canceling March Madness entirely.
The effect on the stock market was predictable but still disappointing. Global supply chains have been disrupted and we’ve learned just how prohibitively dependent we are on China for our supplies of everything from medicines to sneakers and batteries. That’s something we might want to have a public debate about once the virus fades.
It seems to me that we’re facing two obvious choices at this point. One option is to try to hunker down and basically put the world on hold until a vaccine can be approved and hundreds of millions of doses are produced, something that probably won’t happen until next winter at the earliest. The other choice is to throw caution to the wind and let the virus wash over the world and hope that the death toll isn’t too high.
I know that second choice sounds crazy, but when we look at the pandemic bell curve, the chances are that this thing will burn itself out for the most part by May or June. And at that point, the vast majority of the country’s population will have their own, natural immunity from having survived the virus. People in my age range and above will be the most susceptible to not surviving it, but we’re also probably the easiest ones to keep in isolated groups while we wait for the vaccine.
The alternative is to essentially shut down the global economy for as much as a year. We’re already seeing the effects of that this week and the prognosis isn’t good. It’s eventually going to start impacting food supplies. And is it doing any good? We’re seeing new pockets of infected people all over the place every week even with all the travel restrictions in place and the precautions the government has been urging everyone to take. For all we know, the virus already almost everywhere but we just didn’t have enough tests manufactured and distributed to realize it. As someone from the CDC said recently, we’ve cleared moved from the containment stage to the mitigation stage.
For Pete’s sake… even Tom Hanks and his wife contracted the virus and they were on a movie set in Australia. (Production was halted on that project too.) The horses are clearly already out of the barn, folks.
Humanity is going to survive this. Well… at least 98% of humanity, assuming the vaccine takes too long to develop. But at least here in the United States, once this is over we clearly can’t afford to simply shrug and go back to business as usual. We are learning some harsh lessons about how prepared we were for a pandemic and how our dependence on globalization has left us in a fragile, exposed position when those international supply lines are suddenly cut off. We need to do better in the future because this won’t be the last pandemic to hit us and the next one could turn out to be Captain Trips. And if you read The Stand, you know that story doesn’t end very well.