Things are not looking good. Let’s be blunt with each other and brutally honest. Our largest city is besieged with more than 10,000 daily cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), which is nearly three times more than the rest of the country combined but it’s spreading. If we are not extraordinarily careful, that will be the rest of American cities, in short order. But we need to hold onto something and look forward to the other side. Saturday at noon, President Trump held a conference call with 13 major sports commissioners to praise their response to the virus and briefly discuss when it may be safe for sports to resume.
According to a report from ESPN, Trump believes the NFL season “should start on time in September.”
The NHL may not be so fortunate. As one senior advisor to an NHL club recently told PHN, “Let’s be real here.”
PHN has been closely following the developments around the world, from the South Korean “flattening the curve” model, the nightmare scenario in Italy, to the German outlier. It’s our livelihood on the line, and like many of you, our Easter Sunday will be spent alone out of fear the woman who barreled into us at the grocery store or that obstinate chucklehead who jogged past us way too close on the walking trail made us an asymptomatic carrier or worse is yet to come.
Perhaps the scariest story from Sunday morning: There are growing fears in South Korea that a second wave could hit. And, no one is quite sure what is happening in China, where information and data have been wholly unreliable, according to U.S. Intelligence. There is growing anecdotal evidence including a powerful Youtube posting from an infectious disease expert and mostly verified by Scientific American, which cites infectious disease job postings, the Peoples’ Republic of China knew about the potential pandemic in mid-November.
At least one doctor in China who went public with allegations that Chinese Communist party officials and state-run media suppressed news of the outbreak in Wuhan, Dr. Ai Fen, has recently “disappeared.”
In terms of timelines to restart an NHL season, take the Canadian example. Toronto is on lockdown through June 30. So, the earliest the Maple Leafs could be able to meet as a team is July 1, which is less than 12 weeks away.
For July to be possible, a steep decline in coronavirus cases must begin by early May, and no additional virus hotspots could appear. Perhaps the “bubble city” approach, which the Chinese Basketball League is investigating, could work if the virus slows, but it seems the idea has lost steam.
Let’s hope we get ahead of this. And, stay away from others, even if you’re jogging or just need your cookies and a jar of spaghetti sauce.
And this amazing offer from New York Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss: