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Opinions Vary Wildly: Will We Have Sports in the Next 12 Months?

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NHL return, coronavirus update. Pittsburgh Penguins

The opinions over the past few days have ranged from optimistic to wildly pessimistic. One corner of the spectrum doesn’t believe sports or real life will resume anytime in the next 12-18 months. Other informed opinions believe games could return in June, albeit without fans in the stands. So, when might we see the Pittsburgh Penguins or any Pittsburgh team break the coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine?

At the risk of eliciting knee jerk political reactions (everyone take a breath), one of the architects of Obamacare (I said breath) who is now the chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, does not think life will resume for a year, or more.

Dr. Ezekial Emmanuel made the media rounds this week to discuss his predictions and belief we will not be able to gather for another year or more. His assessment is as bleak as they get. Tim Hains of Real Clear Politics transcribed Emmanuel’s comments to MSNBC.

“Realistically, COVID-19 will be here for the next 18 months or more. We will not be able to return to normalcy until we find a vaccine or effective medications,” Emmanuel said. “I know that’s dreadful news to hear. How are people supposed to find work if this goes on in some form for a year and a half? Is all that economic pain worth trying to stop COVID-19? The truth is we have no choice.”

If you just swore out loud, you’re probably not alone. Emmanuel’s timeline for a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine, however, does seem to be predicated on formal, and usual protocols, not the urgency with which UPMC/University of Pittsburgh and private pharmaceutical companies are racing to test potential vaccines. Some clinical trials with humans have already begun.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dallas Mavericks owner and Pittsburgh native Mark Cuban made news with our friends at 93-7 the Fan in Pittsburgh when he outlined an optimistic belief. After President Trump spoke with 13 sports commissioners last week, Cuban responded.

“I hope it means we are playing games. And they may not be in front of fans, but they’ll be on television, (because) I think we need sports,” Cuban told The Fan.

Cuban, who previously toyed with a White House run in 2020, took a more independent approach.

“As much as we can nitpick and say negative things about people and plans, we are all in this together. And we’ve got to find the positive,” Cuban said. “And we’ve got to work towards getting things back on course,” Cuban said. “It doesn’t matter what our politicians say. It doesn’t matter what our government does when it’s all said and done. It matters what we do.”

PHN staff debated restarting sports leagues at a neutral site or without fans, earlier this week.

For the open-minded sorts who are interested in all takes, NRO (National Review Online), has been following Sweden’s coronavirus (COVID-19) countermeasures and the results. Sweden has taken the opposite approach to most of the world. The Swedish government is attempting to develop a “herd immunity.” You can read about it here. There’s a little bit of opinion sprinkled in (like all other media), but it’s an interesting report.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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