Effect Of Coronavirus On Sports Analysed By An Olympic Doctor

Effect Of Coronavirus On Sports Analysed By An Olympic Doctor

Though the Summer Games in Tokyo are expected to go on as scheduled, “it is a dynamically changing situation,” said Jonathan Finnoff, the new chief medical officer for Team U.S.A.

Jonathan Finnoff became the chief medical officer of the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee in January, taking on a job that typically focuses on the sports-related injuries and risks of athletes who represent the country at international competitions.

Lately, though, his job has been primarily about the coronavirus and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, where competition is scheduled to begin on July 22. Stakeholders in the Games — athletes, coaches, sponsors, fans who have bought tickets — want to know what to expect, what the risks are of athletic competition, even whether to avoid the customary postgame handshake with an opponent.

Effect Of Coronavirus On Sports Analysed By An Olympic Doctor

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said last week that plans were continuing for the Games to go on as scheduled, and for now, Dr. Finnoff has offered largely common-sense advice: Wash your hands often. Avoid contact with someone exhibiting symptoms. Hand sanitizer and disinfectants can help.

What are those recommendations?

Try not to touch your face. Wash your hands frequently. Stay three feet away from someone coughing. If you have symptoms that include a fever, cough or fatigue, and if you have been in a high-risk area, reach out to a local health authority. Check the Centers for Disease Control for travel recommendations.

Effect Of Coronavirus On Sports Analysed By An Olympic Doctor

Athletes tend to be younger than the general population. The people who seem to be in the most danger from this virus are older and in compromised health. Could there be a shift that makes younger, healthier people more vulnerable?

The epidemiology won’t change. It probably will affect the older rather than the young population. It has affected enough people for us to see who is at risk.

Sports are trying to adjust by doing things like banning traditional handshakes. Does that make a difference given all the contact people experience when they play sports?

We have found it very unlikely that this is contagious when someone is asymptomatic. So if the people playing a sport are asymptomatic, then the likelihood of spreading the disease is extremely low.

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