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Commentary: Putting a halt to sporting events the right move with unknown coronavirus

Worries over the spread of COVID-19 have hit a critical mass over the past couple of days, and sports fans are starting to pay the price. 

Last night, an NBA game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was canceled shortly before tipoff when it was reported that a member of the Jazz tested positive for the virus. Over the next 24 hours, the NBA, NHL and MLS seasons were suspended, as were all MLB spring training games. Earlier today, the GHSA recommended Georgia high schools to put a temporary hold on spring sports in an effort to stem rates of infection, and Hall County postponed all athletic events after this Friday until further notice.  

It’s not the news anyone wanted to hear, but it’s the right thing to do. 

I am not a doctor or scientist, but I can understand the importance of caution when it comes to controlling a pandemic virus. It doesn’t matter if the school and sports cancellations are overkill or not. With so little known about how widespread COVID-19 is in Georgia, what’s the point of taking the risk?

Taking preventative action at this stage is important, and could make the difference between something akin to a rough flu season and complete disaster. 

At this time, the virus is not believed to have a very high mortality rate among young people, but the threat posed by COVID-19 goes beyond that. As the infected population grows, the chances of our friends and family catching it goes up as well. And while you may be able to shake it off, a person you’ve helped spread it to may not be quite as lucky. 

Increased cases could also lead to overwhelming hospital traffic that could quickly become too much for health care providers to keep up with.

I won’t pretend to be happy that we will be virtually sports free for the foreseeable future. 

I was looking forward to March Madness as much as anyone, and spring really won’t be the same without it. But I will aim my frustrations at the virus itself, and not the NCAA officials who made the decision to call the tournament off in the name of safety. 

Sports are important, but not as important as the health and safety of us and those around us. It is imperative that we play our part in preventing the spread now, before things get out of control. 

Lives are quite literally depending on it.

Nathan Berg is sports writer for The Times. He can be reached at or @NathanxBerg on Twitter.

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