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Covid 19 virus inpacts sports, NHL,Season Tix other impacts

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13 hours ago, bluedevilcane said:

I really wish it could be possible to play, but I just don’t see how it can happen this year. Hope I’m wrong.

Totally agree. Ounce of prevention=pound of cure, and all that. The desire to finish the season is not worth risking anyone's life over.

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Meanwhile, back on topic, there's this from The New Yorker. Here's the last 'graph:

Quote

Many major sports are exploring different scenarios for coming back as soon as possible. There have been reports that Major League Baseball is looking into moving all teams to Arizona; the N.B.A. is considering Las Vegas. All the plans require readily available rapid-response testing, something that does not currently exist, and so all the proposals have a quality of fantasy. And all of them involve risk. Leagues and events may say that health and safety come first, but, until there is a vaccine, and until most people are vaccinated, the virus will spread. Sports have always involved tricky negotiations between business and the public good. That has never been more clear, and the stakes have rarely been this high.

 

 

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The exciting metropolis of Grand Forks, ND has been mentioned in a couple articles as a site the NHL is looking at closely as a neutral site.

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4 hours ago, top-shelf-1 said:

Meanwhile, back on topic, there's this from The New Yorker. Here's the last 'graph:

 

 

I feel all those plans are fairly dumb.  As expected, the greed that comes with being the only thing on and having an exponentially larger audience will eventually win over logic. 
 

im not a NBA fan but I read a bunch about the MLB plan.  Mountain time games on the east coast?  There goes 2/3 of your big markets. Then sitting 6 feet away from other players in the stands? Locking them down in Phoenix? Possibly playing 7 inning double headers just to get to 162?  Regular testing and a positive test doesn’t shut it down?

 

the logic is gone in all of that.

Edited by gocanes0506
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29 minutes ago, gocanes0506 said:

I feel all those plans are fairly dumb.  As expected, the greed that comes with being the only thing on and having an exponentially larger audience will eventually win over logic. 
 

im not a NBA fan but I read a bunch about the MLB plan.  Mountain time games on the east coast?  There goes 2/3 of your big markets. Then sitting 6 feet away from other players in the stands? Locking them down in Phoenix? Possibly playing 7 inning double headers just to get to 162?  Regular testing and a positive test doesn’t shut it down?

 

the logic is gone in all of that.

And we can assume no stealing bases, otherwise the runner and first baseman will be less than six feet apart, and stealing home will become the easiest play in baseball.

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18 minutes ago, top-shelf-1 said:

And we can assume no stealing bases, otherwise the runner and first baseman will be less than six feet apart, and stealing home will become the easiest play in baseball.

The batters and catchers will always be within 6 feet. Its hard to fathom that they would fundamentally change the actual game to accommodate this.  No stealing bases and no pick off attempts?  There goes plenty of strategy.  Tag outs still have to happen. The players association may have something to say about that. The market for speed only, pinch runner, players went to extinct.

 

the only positive thing would be forcing the MLB 

to do the electric strike zone (esz). The umpire union would have zero argument or footing against it. The only thing they could hope for is the ESZ fails miserably.  

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I moved the woodworking (posted after Tuesday), hobbies, etc to the Lighter Side thread here: 

 

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I continue to think that the NHL is going to try to stage some kind of empty arena playoffs. But this is a pure speculation at this point that will depend on multiple factors. The main thing for me is that this is the only way there could be games sooner than later, and they are going to want to have games. Allowing people to pour back into arenas will be the last thing allowed. Either herd immunity or an effective vaccine or just plain flattened curve will have to happen before that.

 

I thought I heard something about the salary cap being slashed as much as 40%. How does that even work? That would be a cap of around $49M, the floor is currently $60M. Is there some sort of provision if games can't be played to cut player salaries/adjust contracts? If that is in play, then players might be even more keen to do something like playing in empty buildings. 

 

The curve of new cases is flattening in the hardest hit areas of the U.S, and clearly in Italy, France, and Spain. Italy's new cases flew up from March 1 to about March 22, 3 weeks. Since then they've come down pretty fast in the next 3 weeks to about half of the peak. Some of the peak is increasing testing too.  The graph for the 10 hardest hit counties in the US, is clearly dropping new cases even as testing is ramping way up (thus finding more cases that were missed before). 

 

What keeps being reported, because it's more sensational, is cumulative cases. Fine, but those trail new cases by quite a bit, since people have this thing for two weeks, and longer if they get really sick. It's new cases that matter on the curve, and a bit over a week lag to peak new hospitalized, sick patients. But new cases ARE dropping. 

 

The question for most of us: Is the curve in the less hard hit areas going to peak later and last longer. Early data suggests that those areas will peak later (but not that much later than the hardest hit areas (1-2 weeks perhaps)), but will not decline that much longer (some, but not that much). My hospital was predicted by two separate, highly paid consultants, one working for the entire UNC system, that we'd have 30 ventilated Covid patients by the end of the month. We have about 4 now. The sickest people tend to present about 7-10 days out and stay in the hospital for two weeks or more. So we are looking at a snapshot of about 10 days ago. In Italy on the uprise cases doubled about every 5 days. But that was one of the hottest spots on Earth that doesn't eat bats. Even if we double every 8 days, we'd have about 10 vented patients at the end of the month, not 30. And they predicted 60 vented patients by the end of May. However, if things start downward for us in about 10 days, we'll peak at around 18 days and adding to those, we might hit 25 by the end of May or less vs the 60 predicted. 

 

The point is that things are probably starting down in the hot spots, and nationally, and even the lagging areas will start down soon. Will there be a second peak up? Probably, because the economy can't stay shut down forever and loosening it will happen and might see a bump, but that's still part of getting over this thing, the the second peak should extinguish quicker with more immune people in the population.

 

So, if we are starting down nationally, we could get to around 5K new cases/day in the US (peak probably around 35K) by the end of May. Things will look very different then, and that is when they'd be looking at some sort of restart in say mid June. Crazy prediction, it could take longer. But sometime June-July, games in empty arenas is still my prediction. Also, I predict that by then the calls to get back to work in the broader economy will be much stronger, if it hasn't already started to happen by then. 

 

Players and the NHL will have to have some sort of deal to keep the cap up if they play these games IMO. That will be a lot of incentive.

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Again, this is a highly speculative opinion. So much is not known, and so many things could affect the plan. I get the concern about player safety. (That could also be affected by better treatments). It's all just my guess.

 

But if they did play the games in empty arenas, it could be interesting in that it would allow for a very novel approach to doing that. This would be a made for TV event and as such could be in smaller arenas with lots of camera angles, and other things to make it interesting. Do they use the player and puck tracking? Etc. Etc. 

 

Personally I think they go right to playoff games because that limits the number of games to divide the attention of paying audiences and maximizes interest. Do they have play in games? I hope not, but maybe.  

 

The other thing about the playoffs is that they set up the draft order. If they don't have them, they might have to dramatically rework the draft lottery. I guess they might just go by regular season record, but that's not totally fair either. 

 

It would be weird as heck, but what hasn't been lately? And it would be better than nothing. 

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39 minutes ago, remkin said:

It would be weird as heck, but what hasn't been lately? And it would be better than nothing. 

I still think the union nixes it, and as a fan, it would have my complete support in doing so. 

 

If you are Sebastian Aho, do you really risk your life (let alone career) to skate in playoffs which, at best, will be remembered for being played at all than for who won?

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40 minutes ago, top-shelf-1 said:

I still think the union nixes it, and as a fan, it would have my complete support in doing so. 

 

If you are Sebastian Aho, do you really risk your life (let alone career) to skate in playoffs which, at best, will be remembered for being played at all than for who won?

It's a fair point, but until there's a vaccine there will be some risk, and possibly even after that (depending on effectiveness and safety of the vaccine). These guys are are in their 20's and 30's and very healthy. They probably feel the risk a bit less in that sense too. To wit: so far in the US there have been 126 deaths in the 15-34 age group from Covid. In that same age group the number of deaths from flu in one year: 154. 

 

Both numbers are highly slanted to young people with serious underlying medical issues. 

 

If you're in that age group this is pretty close to the flu. 

 

But I guess time will tell what they do. 

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15 minutes ago, remkin said:

It's a fair point, but until there's a vaccine there will be some risk, and possibly even after that (depending on effectiveness and safety of the vaccine). These guys are are in their 20's and 30's and very healthy. They probably feel the risk a bit less in that sense too. To wit: so far in the US there have been 126 deaths in the 15-34 age group from Covid. In that same age group the number of deaths from flu in one year: 154. 

 

Both numbers are highly slanted to young people with serious underlying medical issues. 

 

If you're in that age group this is pretty close to the flu. 

 

But I guess time will tell what they do. 

Interesting remkin, I had just seen that same CDC data on flu vs COVID-19 deaths by age range. 

 

The other thing that makes playing hockey hard to imagine is temporal, we are living in today.   But think back just two months ago, would we ever imagine we'd now be in a near nation-wide lockdown for over a month?  Likewise, we can't really imagine what it will be like in 2-3 months from now that the NHL is looking at because our frame of reference is dominated by today.  But in 2-3 months things could change dramatically:  real time testing may be commonplace, effective therapeutics perhaps even some for prophylactic use could be available, herd immunity, seasonal variability of the virus, etc.  Planning doesn't necessarily mean doing, but planning is good--it sure beats hunkering!

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The idea of empty stands games at neutral sites in places not hard hit by the virus (like Grand Forks) may or may not have appeal to the players and the union. I know nothing about a place like Grand Forks, but does it even have enough hotel availability, and the kind of top flight hotels, that the players are accustomed to? It just seems impractical to me, but if they just go straight to the playoffs, they would only need four sites. Have 4 teams play at each site, with two series being played at each location on alternating nights. Would the players and union go for this? I don’t know. They do have a lot of incentive though, because if revenue is lost from the rest of the regular season games and the playoffs, it would have serious implications for next year’s salary cap. Losing the revenue from paying fans would still be a blow, but if they set up the playoffs as pay-per-view, they might recoup a decent amount of revenue. Home bound  sports starved fans would likely pony up to see the playoffs. Of course, to do pay-per-view requires buy-in from NBC and regional sports networks. Just so much to logistically make this work. I’m sure very smart people at the league office and in the union are working through all of the scenarios but playing more games in any format exposes players and essential personnel to the risk of a widespread breakout. I think if they do this and even one player gets sick, they would have to shut down.Not seeing how it could happen, but hoping that it does.

 

The next revenue busting event is when they start the 20-21 season. By all accounts the virus will still be around. Even if the league was allowed by state and federal officials to allow fans into the games, I don’t think many would go unless miraculously there is a vaccine for C-19 before the new season starts. So much to think about. Hope for the best is about all anyone can do.

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I will go. There is a vaccine for the flu which is only about 70 percent effective.  Many die from it every year. I have at risk conditions but will not live in fear. I’ll wear a mask and leave the rest to god to sort out.

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May be too logistically challenging, but I’d like to see a playoff tournament that includes all the teams.  Maybe seed them based on their regular season finish, go March Madness/Frozen Four style and make it single elimination.  That would be intense!

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52 minutes ago, Red_Storm said:

May be too logistically challenging, but I’d like to see a playoff tournament that includes all the teams.  Maybe seed them based on their regular season finish, go March Madness/Frozen Four style and make it single elimination.  That would be intense!

 

I don't know if you could call the winner Stanley Cup Champs given what it takes to win the Cup under ordinary circumstances.  But it would be a lot of fun, and would only require 30 games total and 5 rounds. With 2 days off between rounds you could lock down the teams and complete the tournament in 13 days.  As big an issue as the actual tournament would be bringing in all of the teams for a training camp which would be necessary before playing actual games again.  I wonder how long a training camp would be required? Would they need a full 2 weeks? Could they get away with 10 days? 

Edited by LakeLivin

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Just read that Brady Skjei and his fiancee are in NYC (Tribeca) and she's a nurse.  

 

 On Skjei's fiancé, Gracia, who is a nurse in New York City: "She's on the frontlines right now. … She's working mother-baby unit, postpartum. She actually hasn't had many cases on her floor right now, but the other floors in the hospital are getting pretty crazy right now." 

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rem and others, while not disagreeing with any thoughts put forth concerning the pandemic, I've got two thoughts I'd like to interject along these lines. 1st and foremost concerning plans to reopen sports (any pro and certainly college events) in any plan prior to an effective anti-viral (I'll reflect more on that in the 2nd part) or effective vaccine, I pray that the general public's (i.e. we fans) craving for diversion, coupled with building financial greed from owners, institutions and the like, does not put these highly competitive but likewise naive players, sure of their individual "invincibility", in Harm's Way. Now, I admit that at their age, there is some comfort to be had that if someone their age contracts the COVID 19 disease, the likelihood seems to be that there's a good chance it'll either be subclinical of minor in its effects. On the other hand, assembling teams in one place to play games, or what ever other "brilliant" scheme is hatched, seems to me almost like Russian roulette? Granted, as this disease is becoming more familiar, and better approaches evolve to treat it, my concern is not how much shorter the symptoms of the full blown disease are effected, nor that use of respirators, or even if needing respirator use is improved should it be necessary, but what of the aftermath of the disease? rem, you and several others on here certainly know that lung damage is permanent, cannot be reversed, and unlike the liver, cannot be regenerated. Thus I propose, if plans are premature to reopen sporting events, is their potential to create long term respiratory cripples, not unlike CTE effects we've witnessed prior to understanding concussion long term effects, just for our casual pleasures?

 

2nd thought, not nearly as troubling to me as the last, but I keep seeing 2 proposed and valid solutions to halting this viral disease, to wit: "herd immunity" and "vaccine". Not that I disagree with either, but I also have said that I see a third and likely more rapid way to slow it down, and that's thru an effective antiviral. Now, I don't just mean a "catch lightening in a bottle", solution like the hastily proposed antimalarials (hydroxychloroquine and the like) which are not holding up under more scientific scrutiny, Zithromax or any other 1 in a million drugs that just might have overlap with stopping this specific virus, but a researched and carefully vetted antiviral that specifically attacks either a part of its outer shell (part of which is the well known spike or part of its lipid coating), or the alternative, the host cell's attachment site. I for one have faith that research has been greatly focused on this modality, and although not as sexy as Vaccine sounds, as I see it, there's a great chance that these agents will be introduced more quickly than a vaccine. And one last word here, although a vaccine is the current hope for a panacea, vaccine faliure is certainly well known, either in individuals who cannot produce the antibodies the vaccine attempts to elicit, or because the virus itself mutates( ala influenza). An antiviral then becomes the solution in those cases. 

Edited by KJUNKANE

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4 hours ago, cc said:

I will go. There is a vaccine for the flu which is only about 70 percent effective.  Many die from it every year. I have at risk conditions but will not live in fear. I’ll wear a mask and leave the rest to god to sort out.

Along those lines cc, I'd also propose half jokingly, that the players could be fitted with N95 masks??

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Just found out my county is now #1 in the state in covid cases/population, and #4 in the state. Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Goldsboro. This is what my impressions about that are growing to be. Unless you are in a very large metropolitan area, not only can the medical system handle the volume, but the untold story is the unintended consequences of the whole shutdown thing. I bought the flattening of the curve, and I do think it had to be done, but like so many things, once a thing is done, fear and weird anterior motives can start to take over. We are the #4 county in the state for Covid. My shifts have never been slower. My days are about try to dodge catching covid amoung the few patients we see. We also run an urgent care. Our volumes in the ED are about 1/3 as is our volumes at our urgent care. People are staying away. 

 

How ironic. The hospital is letting people go. We are cutting PA shifts, and the docs will take very substantial pay cuts (because we own our practice and make only what people pay us). Now don't get me wrong. I can handle a pay cut. But it is sort of ironic that while we're dodging Covid bullets, we're also taking big pay cuts. 

 

This is the tale of two epidemiologies. Large city with huge spike in cases: hell. Everyone else? The slowest, easiest shifts we've ever seen, and a pay cut.  I have more, but I'll break it up.

 

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Caution: This is the beginning of a few posts with a lot of words and opinions. Skip ahead a few posts if that is of no interest. These are my takes and opinions at this point of the pandemic from my viewpoint. They are based on science, but the scientific ground is constantly shifting on this, and I think I am a bit on the front edge and have been watching things that don't entirely add up logically to this point and that makes some of these opinions a bit contrarian. The experts have been wrong a lot so far though. Also political positions are, as always, starting to line up a bit in covid-land. I'm not trying to be political in terms of left or right with any of this, it's just how I interpret the science and epidemiology from my viewpoint.

 

OK, I'm coming more and more to the belief that the experts have been significantly wrong about the epidemiology of this outbreak over and over. That said, some models, famously wrong to this point, are just now adjusting their models closer to the realities. But not all models have caught up. NYC is now well past the peak in new cases. Since there is about 7-10 days from new cases to getting really sick for those that do, they are just getting to the peak peak. But other places are not that far behind. 

 

We were told by two very smart highly placed and expensive modeling consultants that our peak would be the end of May, early June. This was touted just 10 days ago. The newest models suggest that we will peak....wait for it....right about now. Again, this is new cases peaking now, so the cumulative cases will peak in about 10-14 days. But the cummulative and admitted cases peak after the real peak in the spread (new cases). Either way these expensive predictions are off by a month. But that's DOUBLE the time predicted just over a week ago. 

 

Being off by about a month may not seem like much, but really it's massive in Covid time. Just over a week ago we were told to expect 30 ventilated, ICU patients in our hospital by the end of this month. As I type we have....one. We were told, just over a week ago, that cases would spike and peak just around June first. Just over a week later, it looks like, oops, it's probably right about now. Heck, even our own administration as of yesterday is still planning for the June 1 spike. Once an idea gets put in people's head by the experts, its very hard to knock it out of there, despite the reality right in front of one's face. 

 

Further, there is mounting evidence that there are WAY more asymptomatic or minimally asymptomatic patients out there than we thought. (And by 'we' I don't mean me. I couldn't see how this thing spread this massively this fast with the infectivity they were saying compared to the actual number of cases without a big asymptomatic pool of carriers. Also, it was pretty obvious we were testing only the sickest patients. Talk about Selection Bias. It couldn't really have been a worse (more classic) example of selection bias). 

 

Neuse Correctional is in my county. They have 259 positive tests out of about 700 prisoners. They tested every prisoner in a screening move, and found this: 98% of the positive tests have had NO symptoms. Some may be in the incubation, period, but look for this to be worthy of national news. Further recently released tests from California suggest that for every positive covid test there are up to 80 people who have had the disease and never tested. 

 

It was originally touted that California, which has had a pretty flat curve, was the example since they locked down earlier. I've always been suspicious of that because it was really not that much earlier, not even a full week. Further, the west coast (California and Washington) have huge Chinese populations. They had to get exposures at the leading tip of the spear before travel was restricted, so a week of earlier shut down shouldn't have mattered that much.  It is looking more and more like they may have had Corona spreading around long before anyone here even knew it existed, and people just assumed it was the flu. This is not proven, but a once wacky conspiracy type theory is looking more likely than not. 

 

It is natural that all of the bias towards sensationalizing the extent of corona will push in favor of overestimating it's effect. Before I explain that, I'm not saying that this event is not sentinel, nor that reacting to shut things down was not reasonable. It was. But it was because we knew so little, it was novel, and the peak of the sickest people had the potential to arrive too quickly and overwhelm us. It came close in a couple of places too. So this is a big deal. But so is the reaction. The virus has elements that are unprecedented, but the total shutdown and authoritarian overreaction by some state governments is entirely unprecedented.  

 

Years of posting on here have shown me that contrarian ideas are tough sells sometimes, so again, Covid is legitimately a big deal. But when it's all said and done, I now think that it will not be as big a deal medically as is reflected in media and societal reaction to it. Why?....

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Things that push to the exaggeration of the effect of Covid. First, again, this is not to say that covid is not a big deal. It is. But it's being treated as the next plague, and it's not.

 

1. It's novel. People have no known immunity, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and so little was known about it. This is scary. (Believe me, scary to me too).

2. It hit massively in the epicenter of the media world: NYC. 

3. We now live in a media saturated world and this is the media's current obsession. In my memory the OJ trial was the start of the media realizing it could cover one thing to no end. Since then it's always something. Well this is a massive something. All things corona now make the news. When a young person dies unexpectedly of flu, it might be a local story. Now it's national. I was amazed to find out that in people under 35 more died of the flu than Covid. (As I mentioned in previous posts, that's the NHL players age). I was surprised because the media is biased to cover the unexpected death, (as well as to put some fear into young people to keep them from passing it around). Covering the one death instead of the 1000 known cases that didn't die is expected bias. But not covering the unknown 8000 cases per known case was an inadvertent bias. But it shapes our fears and opinions still. 

4. There is a specific, seemingly random alternate course of this disease that kills people, even youngish, healthy people (though very rarely). This is the 'cytokine storm'. It is the overreaction of a select group of people's immune system, that sets in motion the reaction that seems to kill the large majority people who die of Covid. The medical community sees mostly those patients and it is stunning and scary as hell. But it biases us heavily. Using the Neuse correctional example again, these prisoners are generally (but not all) younger people. 239 cases. No one is even hospitalized, let along ventilated, let alone dead. (It is too early to say it won't happen, but the wider data is now there to predict that it won't, at least not in the young prisoners). 

5. Politicians are risk averse if it looks like they'll get the blame for things. Right now the blame is for deaths or the overwhelming of the medical system.

This is the blame they are trying to avoid as well as do what is perceived as the right thing. And IMO this is what in general they should do up front. But as this thing starts to level and drop, the blame will switch to the economic calamity to an entire country for peaks that happened in just a few places. Already certain governors are overreaching in their authoritarianism and getting major push back from citizens. As this thing flattens slows, that will become more widespread unless restrictions are lifted in some fashion. The blame will switch around to blame for destroying jobs, etc. Right or wrong though, the tendency to overreact by leaders is still a form of bias. Even if well placed, it is bias to the dead center truth.

6. Testing was limited to the sickest patients. This massively biases the death rate per case. It HAD to be wrong, the only question was how wrong? I predicted about .4-.5%, and I stand by that even now, but if I had to adjust, it would be down, not up. But numbers as high as 6% were bandied about the media, and 2-3% reported almost universally. This will surely be wrong. But this also biases the time to peak and the decline, as we are assuming that everyone who isn't near hospitalization sick doesn't have the disease, even as we know it's not true, and increasingly might be hugely false.

 

Of all of them, the biggest thing is the number of non symptomatic and low symptomatic patients. I've been saying on here since my first posts that this would be the key and it still is. Here's something that's been bugging me, it's great. But still, kids seem to be unaffected by this. OK that's not bugging me. But this is: are they not getting it? Or are they just handling it? Either would be fascinating. If there is such a study it would be huge either way. But I don't know of one. Eventually someone is going to randomly test about 500 kids in NYC to see how many have antibodies to this virus. My guess is it's going to be a lot of them. What does this mean? It means that kids and young adults have probably already been a huge reservoir for this, and passed it around to a bunch of people who don't know they've already been exposed and have immunity.

 

Why do I think this? Well aside from increasing data that a good number of randomly tested people do have antibodies (so far in high exposure areas though), there is just this. How can this thing be peaking and heading down if the vast majority of people have not been exposed? And social distancing doesn't cut it as an argument. Why?

 

Social distancing is not draconian enough. Many people are still going to work. People still assemble as families. People still go grocery shopping. Everyone in a community goes to the same places over and over more than once a week. We are not China or even Korea. Social distancing probably slowed the peak a little, but it does not stop the spread. And this: if social distancing DID slow the spread, it should also slow the peak. Yet we are peaking a mere 1-2 weeks after NYC. Not a meaningful slow down at all. AND if we are peaking so fast, how can we head down the curve if almost no one has immunity? Doesn't add up. Further, some places didn't social distance or did it very late. They are not being overwhelmed.

 

The only thing that makes sense to me is that a good number of people have immunity. Maybe not enough for typical herd immunity since we are not herding together right now, but enough to be the primary reason for the peak and slowing. 

 

This is good. This is very hopeful. As a front line provider in a place that has a lot of covid, we are not even close to being close to being overwhelmed. (Again, on the downside, due to shutting down elective surgeries and decreased census for all sorts of other thing, our hospital is losing $1.5 milllion per week waiting for a surge that I'm thinking is not coming). 

 

So how does all of this relate to the NHL playing again?

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The NHL players are at minimal risk of serious side effects of this thing. Let me start with Kjun's point about damaged lungs. This illness, IMO, will turn out to be a huge nothing for the vast majority of people who get it. It will, indeed be just a tad worse than flu. Considering we don't have a vaccine as we do for flu, in that population (under 40 and healthy), it is actually LESS dangerous than flu. (The flu deaths in the 15-34 group are more, but it's worse than that because those flu deaths are almost all in people who have underlying illness. Those people almost all get the flu vaccine, but die anyways. The covid deaths are all with NO vaccine). 

 

The problem with Covid is that a subset of patients get a massive immune over-response, and that causes the life threatening problems that medicine is still trying to get a handle on. Those patients are freaky. They present in ways we've never seen before. They can have insanely low oxygen levels and look pretty good and be awake and talking in minimal distress. Doctors who first see this have to do a double take because it makes no sense. They then can progress into diffuse pneumonias and lungs that go from fully compliant to stiff as a board. They can get lots of little blood clots everywhere. Things that worked on patients who look like that with other illnesses don't work on these sickest patients. Medically, it is this subset that are the disease for us. And they are scary as hell. Up to 80% of patients never get off the ventilator. Some of them look fine and then have a cardiac arrest that doesn't respond to standard treatments. 

 

So what are the odds that an NHL player gets that form of disease? VERY low.

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Very very very low. The exact number is not currently knowable for sure, but it's miniscule. 

 

The reason we don't know is that we don't know the denominator. But we probably know just about every case in the numerator. While some 85 yo nursing home patient with a million medical problems could easily die and it be assumed it was from some other thing, that is far far less likely for a completely healthy 25 year old. 

 

But let's say that the worst happens and one case of Covid 19 gets into our NHL group and spreads to 50% of the players and we have 200 player with Covid. OK this would shut the playoffs down. But what are the chances of death or permanent disability in this group? 

 

The death rate listed for age 20-20 was: South Korea: ZERO. Spain: 0.2%. China 0.2%. Italy: Zero. (Italy had the highest death rate overall of everyone, yet zero below 29).

The death rate listed for age 30-39 was: South Korea: 0.1%, Spain 0.1%, Italy 0.3%. 

 

First, the deaths were likely in already sick patients. Second, the 30-39 were probably mostly in the 39 end of that spectrum and also with underlying illness. 

 

But mainly, this was testing the sickest people only. Thus the 1 death in 1000 covid patients was only in those patients sick enough to get tested. Recent studies are suggesting that for every one positive covid test in those sick populations there are 40-80 cases never detected who did completely fine. If true then the actual, overall mortality for one case of Covid in the overall population 30-39 would be around one in 60,000, and in the 20-29 age range from zero to that same number. 

 

But this still has to overestimate it because those actual few deaths out there were probably very slanted to people with underlying illnesses that few NHL players have. The real rate? 1/100,000? More? Unknowable, but something like that most likely.

 

So we must eliminate all risk!! Really? This is the same sport that allows people to pummel each other in the face with fists? And sticks (two minute minor). And body checks? And .... 

 

And the risk of a player dying from Covid has to be less than one in 60,000-100,000 not only due to their health, but the fact that they're far less likely to catch it with all fo the precautions we're talking about. 

 

Eliminating all risk is absurd. One year risk of dying from:

 

Accidental poisoning (not drug users): 1/62,000

All motor vehicle accidents: 1/8300

Assault by firearm: 1/14,000

Fire/Smoke: 1/110,000

Fall down stairs: 1/130,000

 

What about the risk of serious life long lung damage? Well it's basically ventilated patients or patients nearly that sick, and that's about half of the death total, and probably not all of them, so the odds are probably about the same as the death odds, of surviving with long term lung damage. So extremely remote compared to say the risk of dying from getting your head hit on the ice.

 

The real risk of starting things up would be economic and embarrassment if covid did run through the group during playoffs forcing a shutdown or delay. But that risk is worth it. IMO anyways, and I'm guessing in the opinion of the players and league.

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So tying the remkinian posts together. 

 

Covid 19 is bad. It is killing many many people. It is scary and should be. But... 

 

I think this thing is going to be shorter than all experts predict. It is peaking now in new cases, and within 3 weeks will peak in total ongoing cases and hospitalized patients. Then the curve down will be slower than the peak up, but still pretty fast, and get to a "comfortable" level sooner than expected, probably about 6 more weeks (late June if not sooner). Pressure will build to release restrictions well before that, and that could slow the drop in new cases, but not as much as people fear, and if there's a second wave it will be much smaller and easily handled, and go away much quicker. 

 

The risk of death or long term disability to NHL players is negligible. They will sign off on that minuscule risk to play and get paid and keep their cap up, which will probably be part of the deal. 

 

All of this will open door for closed arena, made for TV hockey. The players will agree to it, and it will happen. How good it will be is anyone's guess, but it will be very weird and different and most probably won't love it, but will be glad to have something rather than nothing.

 

We will get back to hockey in full arenas next fall with some restrictions in place.

 

Experts on TV calling for 18 months of lockdown will be shown to have been complete idiots, but no one will hold them accountable for being so wrong.

 

I could be wrong, but that's what I'm predicting. If I'm wrong, I'll be pilloried here and I'll admit to it. If I'm right, few will point it out and if I point it out I'll look tacky. This is why it is foolish to make grand predictions, and why, by extension, I'm foolish, even if I turn out to be right.

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