No Hockey Tonight

I was planning on going to the hockey game tonight. Then the season was canceled. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

The Freiburg Wolves were at the bottom of the league during my first two seasons here, fighting to avoid relegation. This season the team was a powerhouse, one I could see taking the title if they got a few lucky puck bounces.

The playoffs have been canceled though due to the coronavirus outbreak. Given the number of cases in Germany, I understand the exercise of caution. Though I must admit I am disappointed.

Freiburg’s arena is one of the worst I have ever seen. In Canada no town of 5,000 would find it acceptable. For a city of 220,000 it is an embarrassment. In the playoffs they pack people in like sardines, and since there are only a few seats, with the rest standing room, there is very little personal space. One infected person could have spread the disease exponentially. Better safe than sorry.

Safety is the watchword these days, or should be. Too often though it seems panic is ruling people’s emotions.

COVID-19, to use the other name for this particular virus, has infected a lot of people in a lot of countries. It is spreading more rapidly than health officials would like.

However, the risk is lessened if people follow certain basic health procedures, such as hand-washing. If you take the time to educate yourself, and spend less time on websites that claim the coronavirus is a communist plot, a capitalist plot or the first part of an interstellar war, you should survive quite nicely.

Public health officials plan for outbreaks like this one. As much as they can anyway. There are contingency plans and various scenarios are discussed long before they happen. If the people at the top are saying to keep a level head, that sounds like good advice.

Anyway, this isn’t the pandemic that freaks out the experts. We’ve been through that one recently, more or less.

The Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918-1920 infected a quarter of the word’s population. More people died from the flu than in four years of fighting in the First World War. Record keeping wasn’t that great, so death estimates vary – but it could have been up to 100 million people, about five per cent of the world’s population. A variant of that particular flu strain in 2009 was less deadly, but still infected a billion or so people.

Today’s crisis is manageable. If people use common sense. It is the one that isn’t manageable that has the experts worried.

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