If pro sports was the world’s canary in the coal mine as it related to the coronavirus, then we should redouble our efforts to stop COVID-19.
It wasn’t until pro basketball’s NBA shut down March 12 — with hockey’s NHL following shortly thereafter — that many of us here began taking this virus seriously.
Most of us here in North America — this editor included — brushed off that funny sounding “coronavirus” in the early parts of 2020.
But when the NBA took what seemed like extraordinary measures to halt the spread by posponing games, it made us sit up and take notice.
But we’ve won, right? There are just 199 cases in the Interior Health region, and the vast majority of those have recovered. Yes, we’ve had two deaths, but have been spared the carnage seen in Ontario and Quebec.
People are finally able to breathe, they’re going back to work or going out to restaurants.
Soon, movie theatres will reopen and hotels will take out-of-town guests.
North America’s professional soccer, basketball and baseball leagues are all talking about their imminent returns, too.
Golf and auto racing are into the thick of action again, with NASCAR even allowing a
smattering of fans into grandstands.
But if we needed sports to show us of just how dangerous this virus can be, then we need to look closely again.
There are now dozens of athletes, coaches and staff testing positive as these sports return.
The PGA Tour is reporting seven positive tests, while the Toronto Blue Jays say “several” players and staff are also positive for COVID-19.
Tennis, the National Football League and the NHL are no different. Of course, a clutch of high-profile cases does not trigger global panic. But we wonder if hearing the world’s best tennis player, Novak Djokovic, is positive or that “several” Seattle Mariners also have COVID-19 brings the whole situation slamming back home.
At the very least, it proves we are still living amid the virus and that as we begin to mingle again in pubs or at the beach, we will likely see a resurgence.
That is expected, but what’s unknown is how we react. Will we shrug off the resurgence, or will we return to our April-May lockdown mode until the virus is back under control?
It’s up to all of us, but we are certain you’d rather get this over with now.
Those with compromised immune systems, living in homes for older adults, or whose livelihoods depend on a free economy are likely hoping we all choose to remain distant, stay home when we’re unwell and wash our hands (a lot).
Local businesses of all kinds — including amateur and semi-professional sports teams and arts groups — need everyone to remain vigilant so they can get back to work.
If you can’t be bothered to worry about “the flu” wreaking havoc again, then maybe you’ll stay committed to killing the virus so you can watch the Rockets or listen to the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra this fall. We know that’s what we want.
— Managing Editor David Trifunov