Coronavirus: Restrictions on sport

by   |   07/03/2020  58 Comments  [Jump to last]

The government are meeting with many sports authorities on Monday to discus what steps to take, should – as if seems likely – the coronavirus epidemic becomes more widespread. Some of the many suggestions being put forward include banning over 70s from attending sporting events, to playing games behind closed doors.

This has already happened in Italy and, as this virus spreads, it also brings into question whether the 2020 Olympics in Japan will go ahead. And whether the European Championship will take place. It seems the Premier league would favour a behind closed door games than a complete postponement.

I think people's health overrides any sporting event and I am sure these decisions will be taken with this in mind. So this weekend may be our last chance to watch live Premier League games. There is talk of letting both the BBC and ITV cover games as well as Sky if a complete ban on fans attending games is what the authorities decide.

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Patrick McFarlane
1 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:05:34
Brian – It looks inevitable that some, if not all, Premier League games will, at the very least, be played behind closed doors at some point before the season's end. Depending on the spread of the virus, games may be cancelled completely, but none of us wants to see that scenario as that will mean much angst for our families and friends regarding our health and theirs.
Ron Sear
2 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:16:03
Free football on TV – bliss. I knew there had to an upside, stiff upper lip everyone.
Alan J Thompson
3 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:27:12
Televised games could have VAR – Virus Appointed Response crowd noises.
Mike Gaynes
4 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:31:43
Good 'un, Alan!
Alan J Thompson
5 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:37:52
I was trying to follow up on that, Mike, sound effects along the lines of canned laughter when VAR considers a ref's decision or an over elaborate dive in penalty box.
Alan J Thompson
6 Posted 07/03/2020 at 18:01:07
Or a slow hand-clap if the goalie takes too long getting the ball back from the empty terraces or can't find the row with the seat it's trapped under...
Andy Crooks
7 Posted 07/03/2020 at 18:40:54
The idea of playing games behind closed doors is insane. Closing every pub and restaurant in the land would be more effective. That won't happen but playing football behind closed doors probably will. It will be a panic, symbolic meaningless, pointless gesture.
Brent Stephens
8 Posted 07/03/2020 at 18:51:03
Andy, many who would have gone to the game might well go to the pub to watch, so I’m not sure how much closing the gates would really help.
John Keating
9 Posted 07/03/2020 at 21:24:28
No doubt it will be another knee jerk reaction.

Why not just go the whole hog and shut the country down.

Where does it end? Do we ban every place where people come into contact with others? Supermarkets, workplaces?

We've already witnessed the political stupidity of players not shaking hands but tackling each other, coming into contact during the game, jumping all over each other after a goal.

Everything should be decided on merit and in proportion.

Bill Watson
10 Posted 07/03/2020 at 21:51:49
Not entirely sure that the Coronavirus scare stories aren't just a convenient diversion from an (alleged) bullying Home Secretary. More people will die from bog standard 'flu.

Notwithstanding that, playing behind closed doors is no solution, at all. What happens if a player(s) falls victim? Will some games be postponed?

So, if Coronavirus really does become an epidemic, the Premier and Football Leagues must be abandoned with no Champions and no clubs promoted or relegated.

Jay Wood

11 Posted 07/03/2020 at 22:24:35
Coronavirus is very real and needs to be contained. But do we need to suspend and paralyse all recreational activity to the degree being proposed?

From what I've read, a particular demographic appears to be the most vulnerable: the elderly already with health problems. Young children and adolescents, adults up to 30 years old, are barely being affected.

The overwhelming majority of fatalities worldwide is in the 70+ age group.

I understand the need for greater vigilance and precaution, but it is half-arsed measures as sport has already imposed that leave me scratching my head.

With Everton not playing today, I didn't watch any footy. I prefer to watch the rugby, England - Wales at Twickenham.

So I'm curious to know, the Premier League banned the pre-match handshake from this weekend. I presume teams performed as normal - players clattering into each other at close quarters all game.

What happened when a team scored today? Were there the usual celebratory pile-ons, or did everyone stand off covering their mouths with their hand? Did players shake hands and embrace at the final whistle?

If they did, then banning the pre-match handshake was an exercise in futility.

As I say, I watched 30 human monoliths batter the shite out of each other at exceedingly close quarters, some of them bloodied.

Central government clearly hasn't got a grip on things or a clear policy of just what activities to suspend or limit in some way.

Rob Halligan
12 Posted 07/03/2020 at 22:25:23
All this non-hand-shaking is all bollox. The end of the Burnley v Spurs all the players were shaking hands with the opposition players and the officials.

Also, talk of banning anyone over 70, does that include the likes of Roy Hodgson, who is 72?

John Cook
13 Posted 07/03/2020 at 22:47:37
I mentioned on a previous article about scaremongering. This crowd who brought in VAR can't be trusted to make a decision like this.

From what I have heard of this virus, it affects the respiratory organs and the over-70s are most at risk. What about asthmatics, COPD sufferers, smokers – are they all on the list next?

I have a couple of nephews who only have to look at a flower and the inhalers are out. Although we need to be vigilant, I feel it is over the top. Christ, I couldn't get a shithouse roll in Home Bargains today, will have to go back to the Echo, torn up on a piece of string...

There are more stabbings in London than Coronavirus sufferers. This country... my god! At least all Kenwright haters will be happy – it's one way to get him out the club, him being well over 70.

John Pierce
14 Posted 07/03/2020 at 22:48:20
It is taking effect in many ways. We were out on Broadway last night, a Friday night no less, and it was conspicuously quiet, actually a very pleasant night. Bars, the streets, and the theatre noticeably becalmed, no hordes to battle.

The amount of misinformation and lack of social medicine with a centralized plan in The States is causing huge contradictory messages.

Dennis Stevens
15 Posted 08/03/2020 at 00:50:28
I hope we're not about to see the Premier League season cancelled just when those luvable Reds were about to finally win it!
Derek Thomas
16 Posted 08/03/2020 at 00:57:04
Dennis, fear not; with all the Red Shite in the establishment media, Sky, BBC, etc. footy won't be suspended until after they've won it.
Derek Knox
17 Posted 08/03/2020 at 01:31:55
Has the world gone crazy or over-clinical in their thinking?

While admittedly, Coronavirus is a concern, I believe there is far too much money involved in such drastic measures, and would it realistically have any effect?

Let's just suppose for one moment, that games were to be played behind closed doors, but they would let cameras in to televise the game. How wold they compensate Season and Pre-paid Ticket Holders? I am not just talking Everton here, the Premier League alone collectively, must be approaching half a million for home and away support, then the Championship and so on.

The Railways and all Transport would suffer massive losses in revenue too, then there are all the supporting businesses Pubs, Restaurants, Cafes and Fast Food Outlets.

Knee-jerk response, I believe, from a Government who can't think of anything more relevant to combat a situation, and a welcome diversion from all the other issues that they can't handle.

Lloyd Brodrick
18 Posted 08/03/2020 at 07:02:33
Wow! The comments above are scary as this is a very far-reaching and serious situation. The ban on hand-shaking is more of a statement than having any real benefit to the players, they would have done better completing a ritual hand-wash before shaking in my view.

I've worked in health and social care for over 30 years and served on pandemic planning boards in the past. Containment is everything with this one or the NHS will be swamped. If you can spare the time look at the brilliant BBC 4 experiment 'Contagion' on the BBC iPlayer. It's fascinating and informative.

Jay Wood

19 Posted 08/03/2020 at 11:48:25
Lloyd @ 18. Here are the words of a doctor who also thinks government and public reaction to the coronavirus is 'scary'.

I would be genuinely interested, Lloyd, to hear what you think of his words.


I'm a doctor and an Infectious Diseases Specialist. I've been at this for more than 20 years seeing sick patients on a daily basis.

I have worked in inner-city hospitals and in the poorest slums of Africa. HIV-AIDS, Hepatitis, TB, SARS, Measles, Shingles, Whooping Cough, Diphtheria... there is little I haven't been exposed to in my profession. And, with the notable exception of SARS, very little has left me feeling vulnerable, overwhelmed or downright scared.

I am not scared of Covid-19. I am concerned about the implications of a novel infectious agent that has spread the world over and continues to find new footholds in different soil.

I am rightly concerned for the welfare of those who are elderly, in frail health or disenfranchised who stand to suffer mostly, and disproportionately, at the hands of this new scourge. But I am not scared of Covid-19.

What I am scared about is the loss of reason and wave of fear that has induced the masses of society into a spellbinding spiral of panic, stockpiling obscene quantities of anything that could fill a bomb shelter adequately in a post-apocalyptic world.

I am scared of the N95 masks that are stolen from hospitals and urgent care clinics where they are actually needed for front line healthcare providers and instead are being donned in airports, malls, and coffee lounges, perpetuating even more fear and suspicion of others.

I am scared that our hospitals will be overwhelmed with anyone who thinks they "probably don't have it but may as well get checked out no matter what because you just never know..." and those with heart failure, emphysema, pneumonia and strokes will pay the price for overfilled ER waiting rooms with only so many doctors and nurses to assess.

I am scared that travel restrictions will become so far-reaching that weddings will be canceled, graduations missed and family reunions will not materialize. And well, even that big party called the Olympic Games... that could be kyboshed too. Can you even imagine?

I'm scared those same epidemic fears will limit trade, harm partnerships in multiple sectors, business and otherwise and ultimately culminate in a global recession.

But mostly, I'm scared about what message we are telling our kids when faced with a threat.

Instead of reason, rationality, openmindedness and altruism, we are telling them to panic, be fearful, suspicious, reactionary and self-interested.

Covid-19 is nowhere near over. It will be coming to a city, a hospital, a friend, even a family member near you at some point. Expect it. Stop waiting to be surprised further. The fact is the virus itself will not likely do much harm when it arrives. But our own behaviors and "fight for yourself above all else" attitude could prove disastrous.

I implore you all. Temper fear with reason, panic with patience and uncertainty with education. We have an opportunity to learn a great deal about health hygiene and limiting the spread of innumerable transmissible diseases in our society. Let's meet this challenge together in the best spirit of compassion for others, patience, and above all, an unfailing effort to seek truth, facts and knowledge as opposed to conjecture, speculation and catastrophizing.

Facts not fear. Clean hands. Open hearts. Our children will thank us for it.

#washurhands #geturflushot #respect #patiencenotpanic

John G Davies
20 Posted 08/03/2020 at 11:52:47
Wash your hands while singing two verses of "Oh we hate Bill Shankley and we hate St John..."
Chris Williams
21 Posted 08/03/2020 at 12:24:31
I'm no follower of social media, and don't read the tabloids, so I have no idea what sort of panic is being spread there, if any.

I'm 72 so in the ‘vulnerable' age group, and old enough to make my own mind up on such things I'm also a season ticket holder, so have a view on this too. I try to make a point of keeping informed.

I think it's a serious situation and needs to be treated as such, both from a personal and family health point of view. It seems that the majority of people who get this will get something which at worst resembles flu. Those dying from this seem to have some underlying health issue, and the mortality rate seems to be of the order of 1 to 2%. But it is spreading and many people will be getting this. How many, who knows? So containment is vital.

Businesses will be damaged, some, like Flybe will go to the wall and an under-resourced NHS will struggle with their employees being especially vulnerable, increasing the pressure.

All that is reasonable to me. And I don't think it is over-reaction.

What I don't get is that the main instigators of doom and gloom and therefore over-reaction, seem to be,

The government
Public Health England

And I'm prompted to ask why?

John Keating
22 Posted 08/03/2020 at 12:29:34
Something was bound to happen like this.

The beer is absolute piss water.

Brian Williams
23 Posted 08/03/2020 at 12:45:35
I think after today's games, the Premier League should be cancelled and there be no Premier League winner for this season. The season should be declared null and void and Manchester City should carry the title of Premier League Champions through to next season.

I'd like to declare that this has nothing to do with me being a bitter Evertonian with a deep hatred for the redshite.

I'd LIKE to declare that but being an honest type I can't really.

George Carroll
24 Posted 08/03/2020 at 21:44:26
The only positive I can see if games are played behind closed doors is that Klopp and his band will win the title with no-one cheering.
Lloyd Brodrick
25 Posted 09/03/2020 at 01:32:29
Jay (19),

I'm not suggesting I find what the government is doing or the public is scary. I was commenting on the relative naivety of many of the posts above that of mine.

With regard to the Doctor's words, it's a very well written and accurate piece, albeit an appeal to all to put knowledge over fear.

The Doctor states only SARS scared them, probably due to the 10% mortality rate. Here, I would disagree as SARS was a serious but slow-moving virus. Covid-19 with a 2-3% mortality rate is demonstrating much higher reproductive rates in comparison, millions infected and many more victims sadly.

The problem is the numbers swamping available resources, impacting on the norm. The spread has to be delayed if the pandemic is to be managed, which in turn will reduce the risk to vulnerable individuals, vulnerable businesses and vulnerable economies.

Like myself, the Doctor was simply appealing for people to take some responsibility and rid ourselves of ignorance. Knowledge is key, hence my invitation to view the 'Contagion' experiment on BBC iPlayer.

The whole issue of crowds or mass group gatherings is the fact that 80% of people contracting the virus will have only mild symptoms and probably will still be out and about spreading the infection with numbers growing too quickly for our health systems to cope.

Derek Thomas
26 Posted 09/03/2020 at 01:53:04
Play behind closed doors and everybody, well many, will go to the pub and get coughed on there.

Make it free to air, not all the games will get shown, many will go to the pub.

The Government... hiding the stick in plain sight, tell Sky to set up a £1? / nominal sum (got to give them a carrot) per game streaming service and those who want to play Convid Roulette can go to the pub; anybody with an ounce of sense stays home.

Though at the moment, £1 to watch that shite is vastly overpriced... in fact, all those overpaid wasters at Finch Farm should chip in £50,000 and pay for us to watch.

Jay Wood

27 Posted 09/03/2020 at 03:30:22
Lloyd @ 25. Thanks for the reply. Appreciated.

I understood your original post considered posts in this thread 'scary' for (as you now describe) their 'naivety'.

I thought many were simply laced with heavy irony, or questioning half-arsed measures such as the banning of players' pre-match handshakes, but then allowing the combatants to engage with each other at close quarters and allowing 30-60,000 people into the arena to watch them, before dispersing to different geographical locations.

Quite clearly, given the different measures central and regional governments have taken - Italy's declaration today of 'quarantining' a quarter of it's population in the industrial and commercial engine room in the north of the country being the latest - there is no synchronized and coordinated global response to the crisis. This in spite of WHO and the UN being fully aware of the threat and making declarations on the same for at least two months.

What results in the absence of a globally agreed response is that citizens of different nations get varied levels of public information on the potential gravity of the situation and how each one of us can help in restricting its spread.

The result is the panic stockpiling as people go into 'bunker' mood.

I'm glad you acknowledged the worthy words of the doctor I quoted. You might also enjoy this article on the psychology of panic buying, which is very much relevant as people are induced to do so in the absence of better public information which could go a long way in reassuring folk:


The numbers, virulence and spread of the virus as you say is, on one level, scary. But as sad as the fatalities are, I personally feel governments and global bodies could and should be doing a lot more in reassuring the global village that while a particular demographic is at high risk, for the overwhelming majority they have an extremely low chance of contracting it, and even for those that do the symptoms will be similar to a regular flu and pass in a few days. The likelihood is you wouldn't even need to be hospitalized, but self-quarantine in your own home. That people could go a long way in reducing the risk of spread and catching the virus with simple measures such as better hand washing and taking more care when sneezing.

This actually represents a golden opportunity to establish good practices for all going forward.

You and the doctor I quoted both express the same concerns about a possible swamping of available resources, which in turn impacts on and takes away from other vital resources.

In this regard I note in the UK the public is being asked NOT to go to GP surgeries and hospital ERs, but rather to call a helpline which could help you self-defense accurately.

I perfectly understood the preoccupation with large public gatherings such as sports events. But the varying responses - cancellation, stage the event but behind closed doors, banish pre-match handshakes but otherwise carry on as normal - only serve to highlight the authorities have not got a grip on things. And if central governments are unable to offer clear direction, how can the public be best informed on what to do and not do?

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the Formula One global circus should logically be the most vulnerable of sporting events whose calendar and should perhaps already have been suspended for the year, even though there is considerable sponsorship monies invested in the sport.

Why? Because every 1-2-3 weeks literary thousands of people (from virtually every nation) and equipment is transported to a different global location and played out in front of 100,000 spectators, who themselves gather from every corner of the globe.

It's a moving, living petri dish!

I can understand the reluctance of sporting bodies to simply cancel their sporting calendars. Football, for example, has the Euros and other international tournaments fixed for the summer. There is little or no wriggle room to catch up postponed fixtures should it come to that. The Olympics is another event seriously at risk.

Governments and sporting bodies both, I'm sure, are hugely reluctant to place an embargo on any recreational events. Sponsors most certainly would not be happy to have events cancelled.

It's certainly a difficult conundrum to resolve Lloyd.

Tony Hill
28 Posted 09/03/2020 at 07:22:39
Jay #19, the doctor's words you quote are the best thing I've read on this subject.
John Pickles
29 Posted 09/03/2020 at 14:05:01
Well our players have no chance of catching it yesterday, they never got anywhere near any Chelsea players all game.
Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:34:48
Tony (28), I also found the words of Jay’s doctor and Lloyd Broderick’s (25) more sensible and calming than most articles I have read on this virus, I will be following that advice as much as I can. Thanks Jay and Lloyd.
Stan Schofield
31 Posted 09/03/2020 at 17:22:00
Lloyd@25: Interesting point about the different mortality rates. If you look at SARS (2003), MERS (2014), Swine Flu (2009-2010), and annual Influenza, the different mortality rates of these four viruses appear to have an inverse relationship to the total infections (global figures):

MERS: Mortality 35%, Infections 2,500, Deaths 800
SARS: Mortality 10%, Infections 8,000, Deaths 800
Swine flu: Mortality 0.04%, Infections 1 billion, Deaths 400,000
Annual flu: Mortality 0.05%, Infections 1 billion, Deaths 500,000

As the mortality rate increases, numbers of infections and deaths broadly decrease. If COVID-19 were consistent with this pattern, with a mortality rate of about 2 to 3%, infections might number of the order 500,000, and deaths 15,000 (again, globally).

Of course, COVID-19 might not fit this pattern, but if it does then infections and deaths in the UK might be about 5,000 and 150, respectively. This can be compared with about 10 million flu infections and 5,000 flu deaths annually in the UK.

There is obvious uncertainty in such patterns and numbers, but at the same time there is reason to put any new virus such as COVID-19 into perspective with respect to other related hazards such as annual flu. Such perspective is useful for eliminating fear whilst still putting in place sensible measures for control of the spread of the virus.

Kieran Kinsella
32 Posted 09/03/2020 at 17:31:54
I am not convinced with these quarantine steps because the genie is out of the bottle. For example, Italy are quantining 14 million people for two weeks. If in theory, this prevents any of those 14 million speading it elsewhere then that's good although it also means the 14 million are couped up with the few hundred infected for 14 days.

But, people already have it in various other countries so what is to stop a man from Kansas bringing it into Northern Italy once the quarantine period ends? Or a South Korean beinging back to Wuhan once that quarantine ends? It seems as if many people are asymptomatic and it's already all over the globe, so I think the ship has already sailed.

Paul Hewitt
33 Posted 09/03/2020 at 21:37:49
It's a snowflake world we live in now. Yes, this virus isn't pleasant but as Stan @ 31 has shown, it's hardly the worst disease to happen. And unless your old or in poor health, then I don't think you have anything to worry about. Wash your hands (can't believe adults need telling this) and catch all coughs and sneezes. Then there shouldn't be any problems.

But if the Premier League want to cancel the season now, I'm okay with that.

Thomas Lennon
34 Posted 09/03/2020 at 22:40:05
Stan's predictions of 150 deaths in UK (65 million people) seem a little low when compared to 460 deaths already recorded in a similar sized country (Italy) in 2 weeks as it spreads. There are months of this to go.

The UK has this much better contained so far, there is a steady rather than huge increase in numbers of cases. We need to keep it like this as long as possible, the summer sun might stop it in its tracks. Sacrificing a few sporting events is a price worth paying though the virus is not likely spread easily in open air events.

Not much worse than flu? 10x worse mortality figures. And it seems to be really good at spreading within groups that spend long periods of time together.

Brian Williams
35 Posted 09/03/2020 at 22:49:15
It's not just the deaths resulting from contracting the virus, it's the huge effect it'll have on the global economy, on businesses etc.

Whether people consider the isolation procedures and the like over the top, the effect worldwide will be devastating, for a time at least.

Stan Schofield
36 Posted 09/03/2020 at 22:54:55
Thomas @34: The 150 deaths @31 is not a prediction, but merely a possible indicator if COVID-19 follows a pattern consistent with the other data quoted @31. It's just an 'if' that could provide some context.
Dick Fearon
37 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:16:50
A month ago I guessed how the virus would develop and stocked up on toilet paper, rice, disinfectant, hand wash and UHT milk.

A bit more realistic, I think, than Ancelloti's team selection and tactics.

Lloyd Brodrick
38 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:37:52
Kieran (32), The genie is indeed out of the bottle and the horse has bolted but the measures will reduce transmission until a vaccine is developed and natural immunity comes into play. Governments and their health services are very concerned to keep the rate of infection to a minimum. Our hospitals without exception are tipped over the edge every winter just by seasonal flu and winter ailments, hence the measures to delay.

Stan (31), I would agree albeit I would revise those UK figures. I think we would be very lucky if we restricted cases to just 5,000.

Covid-19 moves more quickly than our midfield, it spreads as easy as the flu, so we should expect similar transmission rates but with a mortality rate 2.5% higher.

From what I can make out we get the 2-3% mortality rate from what has been learned in China, yet if you look at the current French, US and Italian figures they indicate a mortality rate between 4-6%.

It's interesting to note that the death toll following The Spanish Flu (1915-1919) was somewhat lower in China than that of the western world. As The Spanish Flu originated in China and each new virus has some genetic link to the last, it is believed that the people of South East Asia had some residual immunity which limited the impact.

I think the figures you quote Stan relate to a generally complacent public attitude to flu and in part with vaccines present as well as the development of natural immunity within the population. Immunity will take some time and the vaccine is some months off.

From what I observe, however, people do appear to be taking notice now and acting accordingly, loo rolls permitting, which can only be good.

The BBC 'Contagion' experiment modeled a similar type of virus, unchecked infecting 43M in the UK alone. When they introduced a control such as simple hand-washing, that figure drops by a massive 13M. You can see why its a numbers game and of great concern given our finely balanced NHS resources.

As others have said we should not be too fearful, there will of course be significant disruption caused by high numbers of people off work and economic mayhem but, in terms of personal health, 82% of those who contract Covid-19 will have mild symptoms and build natural immunity, 15% will be floored as we men are with the flu and 3% will require critical care, 80% of these also recover.

I might mention that a great source of cross-infection is that of passing money between us. It struck me that I do this very rarely as so much is contactless so all of these innovations will help. The one exception I came across, although there are many, remains complacent.

I contacted the customer services of a very large well known US fast food restaurant and asked them what measures they were taking to limit infection, due to their children's tablets and 'touchscreen' self-service system. The 'Clown' that runs it said they would continue to operate the system unless told to suspend it. Can businesses not conduct their own risk assessments and take the lead?

Don Alexander
39 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:47:54
Dick (#37), with those ingredients, what the hell are you cooking?
Andy Crooks
40 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:51:48
So, Dick, you are one of them. The segue to your panic buying and Carlo's tactics is as fine as anything I have read on this site.

Could you let me have the recipe for what you are going to cook with rice, toilet paper, disinfectant, hand wash and UHL milk. What flavour of disinfectant would you recommend?

Stan Schofield
41 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:54:33
Lloyd@38: Yes, as you say the mortality rate is variable between countries, the overall global rate being currently about 3.6%. The higher rate in Italy might reflect an older age profile.

The figures pertaining to COVID-19 @31 are of course 'possible broad indicators' and uncertain. Taking the 5,000 that you discuss, this could easily be several times higher, and the 150 deaths could easily be 500 or more. But the point is, given the 'trend' or 'pattern' of the data for other viruses quoted @31, it's difficult to see rates for COVID-19 being anywhere near what we see annually for flu. It's the 'orders of magnitude' that provide some perspective, and without perspective people (and particularly politicians, the media, and financial markets) often tend to knee-jerk rather than simply take sensible precautions.

Jay Wood

42 Posted 10/03/2020 at 01:06:25
This is going to be an interesting watch to see how it plays out.

In Italy, Prime minister Conte has extended yesterday's declared quarintine of northern Italy to the entire country.


Everyone to self-quarantine at home, all sporting events cancelled. All schools and universities closed. Special permission required to travel.

This follows 3 consecutive days of increasing mortalities due to Coronavirus making Italy 2nd only to China for deaths caused by the virus.

Contrast that to the US where Trump is openly contradicting the advice his own advisors are issuing to the public, more concerned is he with his numbers in election year in both the popularity polls and the financial markets.


The two contrasting 'social experiments' will be very revealing and telling on many levels, I fancy.

Dick Fearon
43 Posted 10/03/2020 at 13:09:52
Don@39, Andy @40, I lived through the age of food rationing when we were limited to one egg per person per week. In times of scarcity, one roll of toilet paper would be worth a dozen eggs.

If things got really dire, I doubt some of our misbegotten players would raise as much.

Geoff Williams
44 Posted 10/03/2020 at 17:22:05
The closing of football grounds could mean most of the Football League clubs becoming bankrupt and folding as they rely so heavily on gate receipts. We could end up with only the Premier League being fully professional and only a handful of full time and part time players in a much reduced EFL.

The next month or so could prove critical to the future of football in England.

Stan Schofield
45 Posted 10/03/2020 at 20:01:06
Lloyd @38: Just to add to my post @41, the graphical trends for both cases and deaths in China are levelling out. This levelling out really got going about a month after Wuhan started its 23rd January lockdown, ie, around the end of February. China has around 70% of global cases and deaths.

The remaining 30% of cases and deaths are of course from other countries. In these other countries, cases and deaths started to ramp up at about the same time that China's started to level-out, ie, around the end of February. In other words, the trends for other countries lag those for China by about a month.

If the trends for other countries follow the trend shown by China, then we might expect cases and deaths to start levelling out by the end of March or beginning of April. If that happens, and China's trend continues as currently, then of course global cases and deaths will be levelling out by then.

Such levelling out of cases and deaths can be a sign that the effects of the virus are impacting at a much reduced and reducing rate. Only time will tell of course, but the data show reasons for optimism.

Kevin Latham
46 Posted 10/03/2020 at 20:38:39
40 odd posts so far and nobody has yet blamed Hibbo! Thread not closed yet though.
Danny Baily
47 Posted 10/03/2020 at 21:37:51
Geoff 44, good point about the EFL clubs being dependent on gate receipts.

The Accrington manager has already stated that a suspension of the league would be a better option than playing behind closed doors.

If we suspend League One, we'd have to suspend the lot.

Dick Fearon
48 Posted 10/03/2020 at 22:05:28
Tony Hibbert was typical of many that did little to enhance the Everton name.
300 or more games, not a single goal, he could not make a half-decent cross. He was not expected to do much and fulfilled those expectations to a tee.

Despite all that, he had a loyal following who could not see he was taking them for a ride. When his less-than glorious long career finally came to an end, he tipped a bucket of criticism onto the club.

I am still wondering how many more of these second-rate characters, including managers, will take the mickey out of our club before we wake up to them?

John McFarlane Snr
49 Posted 10/03/2020 at 22:23:35
Hi Dick [43 & 48] you've forgotten to mention the BUs [bread units].

I think that you're being a bit harsh on Tony Hibbert, I thought that he was a competent full-back. I heard so many fans say "He's alright at defending, but he can't cross a ball". I would ask: What's a full-back's prime job? Then, as now, someone had to be the scapegoat, a position Tony Hibbert shared with Leon Osman.

Dick Fearon
50 Posted 10/03/2020 at 22:46:12
JMcF@49, We could spend all day chatting about those 'good old days' but it would flow right over the heads of today's fans. The point I was trying to make was how we eulogise second raters who would struggle to earn a place in most other clubs.

You mention Osman and I would place him among the said lot. Many years ago I ceased offering support for their likes and I wish the bulk of fans had been more critical of these chancers.

I do not exclude Bill Kenwright from the overall degeneration of our place in world football. He must at the very least have recognised many of our on- and off-field problems yet did nothing to arrest the decline.

Martin Nicholls
51 Posted 11/03/2020 at 12:36:47
Wash your hands (properly!) in the primitive toilets at Goodison Park?? No chance!

As others have said, the genie is out of the bottle and the staging of tonight's game at Anfield will bring that genie to Merseyside.

Two thousand visitors from a city (Madrid) already in partial lockdown, mixing with RS supporters travelling in from myriad far flung locations will see to that! Then those visitors will take the infection home with them. This game should have been called off.

Charles Brewer
52 Posted 11/03/2020 at 20:42:13
Martin, I think that as a result of this evening's game, we can expect major coronavirus outbreaks in Oslo, Exeter, Jakarta and Bangkok.

Fortunately, the likelihood of it resulting in infections anywhere in or around Liverpool, on the Wirral or in North Wales is just about zero.

Joe McMahon
53 Posted 11/03/2020 at 20:53:16
Charles, don't forget Devon and Holly Island, and Inverness.
Lloyd Brodrick
54 Posted 13/03/2020 at 02:13:21
Stan @45,

Sorry, mate, yes that would be correct, if everyone went for the lockdown model.

China concerns me. It's like sitting in your house, wrestling the virus into a box and locking it until the virus has run its course and died off. Then you walk outside and get infected.

Phil Sammon
55 Posted 13/03/2020 at 02:41:22
Top story on Apple News here in Australia:

From the New York Times:

‘How to prepare and stock up for the coronavirus pandemic’

‘Stocking up on pain and fever relievers, prescription drugs, electrolytes and food are the most prudent ways to prepare for the coronavirus pandemic, health officials say.’

How irresponsible is this. Surely the media have a duty to not instigate panic buying.

Stan Schofield
56 Posted 13/03/2020 at 16:44:37
Lloyd @54: There is uncertainty about the effects of lockdown, but policy errs on the side of it. There is all manner of theoretical (imagined) scenarios, with various views, often polarised. But being informed by clear data trends can be very useful. Looking at the data, there are reasons for optimism subject to obvious uncertainties.
Brian Harrison
57 Posted 16/03/2020 at 11:27:09
Although rugby league and some lower league football has gone on in the last few days, I would think by tomorrow the government would have introduced a mass gathering ban which will then stop all sports. I was listening to a virologist from Harvard University who said he couldn't understand why the UK hadnt already banned mass gatherings. As he said if you reduce the numbers coming into contact with each other you obviously reduce the contagion. I have no idea if and when any sport will start up again and most are suggesting there is absolutely no chance of the Premier league starting on the 4th April.

I do find it very strange that our country is pursuing a different strategy to most other countries in the world. Most other countries have stopped mass gatherings, closed bars and restaurants and schools yet we have done none of this. But we are planning to ask over 70s to self isolate for approx 16 weeks yet no other country is doing or contemplating doing this. I have to smile when I hear this government talk about evoking the spirit of WW2 there is nobody in government who lived through that war. Certainly if my visit to my local Sainsburys this morning is anything to go by its more like Thatchers every man for himself policy than anything resembling the spirit of WW2.

Finally I just hope that one of the predictions in todays Guardian doesnt come true, as an expert is saying expect up to 12.7 million people to be hospitalized in the next 12 months. I hope all T/W stay safe during this worrying time.

Len Hawkins
58 Posted 16/03/2020 at 12:03:40
Rugby League heirachy meeting today, and expect clubs folding if the fixtures are suspended. The only money is in a few Superleague teams the rest are like orphans stood in the snow at a bakery window.

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