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.
Reader Comments (58)
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:05:34
2 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:16:03
3 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:27:12
4 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:31:43
5 Posted 07/03/2020 at 16:37:52
6 Posted 07/03/2020 at 18:01:07
7 Posted 07/03/2020 at 18:40:54
8 Posted 07/03/2020 at 18:51:03
9 Posted 07/03/2020 at 21:24:28
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.
10 Posted 07/03/2020 at 21:51:49
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.
11 Posted 07/03/2020 at 22:24:35
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.
12 Posted 07/03/2020 at 22:25:23
Also, talk of banning anyone over 70, does that include the likes of Roy Hodgson, who is 72?
13 Posted 07/03/2020 at 22:47:37
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.
14 Posted 07/03/2020 at 22:48:20
The amount of misinformation and lack of social medicine with a centralized plan in The States is causing huge contradictory messages.
15 Posted 08/03/2020 at 00:50:28
16 Posted 08/03/2020 at 00:57:04
17 Posted 08/03/2020 at 01:31:55
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.
18 Posted 08/03/2020 at 07:02:33
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.
19 Posted 08/03/2020 at 11:48:25
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
20 Posted 08/03/2020 at 11:52:47
21 Posted 08/03/2020 at 12:24:31
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,
Public Health England
And I'm prompted to ask why?
22 Posted 08/03/2020 at 12:29:34
The beer is absolute piss water.
23 Posted 08/03/2020 at 12:45:35
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.
24 Posted 08/03/2020 at 21:44:26
25 Posted 09/03/2020 at 01:32:29
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.
26 Posted 09/03/2020 at 01:53:04
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.
27 Posted 09/03/2020 at 03:30:22
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.
28 Posted 09/03/2020 at 07:22:39
29 Posted 09/03/2020 at 14:05:01
30 Posted 09/03/2020 at 16:34:48
31 Posted 09/03/2020 at 17:22:00
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.
32 Posted 09/03/2020 at 17:31:54
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.
33 Posted 09/03/2020 at 21:37:49
But if the Premier League want to cancel the season now, I'm okay with that.
34 Posted 09/03/2020 at 22:40:05
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.
35 Posted 09/03/2020 at 22:49:15
Whether people consider the isolation procedures and the like over the top, the effect worldwide will be devastating, for a time at least.
36 Posted 09/03/2020 at 22:54:55
37 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:16:50
A bit more realistic, I think, than Ancelloti's team selection and tactics.
38 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:37:52
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?
39 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:47:54
40 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:51:48
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?
41 Posted 09/03/2020 at 23:54:33
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.
42 Posted 10/03/2020 at 01:06:25
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.
43 Posted 10/03/2020 at 13:09:52
If things got really dire, I doubt some of our misbegotten players would raise as much.
44 Posted 10/03/2020 at 17:22:05
The next month or so could prove critical to the future of football in England.
45 Posted 10/03/2020 at 20:01:06
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.
46 Posted 10/03/2020 at 20:38:39
47 Posted 10/03/2020 at 21:37:51
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.
48 Posted 10/03/2020 at 22:05:28
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?
49 Posted 10/03/2020 at 22:23:35
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.
50 Posted 10/03/2020 at 22:46:12
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.
51 Posted 11/03/2020 at 12:36:47
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.
52 Posted 11/03/2020 at 20:42:13
Fortunately, the likelihood of it resulting in infections anywhere in or around Liverpool, on the Wirral or in North Wales is just about zero.
53 Posted 11/03/2020 at 20:53:16
54 Posted 13/03/2020 at 02:13:21
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.
55 Posted 13/03/2020 at 02:41:22
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.
56 Posted 13/03/2020 at 16:44:37
57 Posted 16/03/2020 at 11:27:09
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.
58 Posted 16/03/2020 at 12:03:40
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.