College Football Doomed

At least in the Big Ten and probably in the Pac-12, definitely in some of the midlist conferences. I imagine the reality of it won’t really hit some people until the SEC gives up the ghost, although, who knows, maybe they won’t, it’s not a coincidence that some of the hottest hotspots of coronavirus activity are in the South. The idea of 100,000 Auburn fans (for example) screaming their hearts out in the stands, all without masks, terrifies me, but I guess it might just be an example of freedom for them. Just 15% of Alabama ICU beds are available as of six days ago, incidentally. And we’re not even talking about Florida yet!

As you can see from the tweet above, I made snark about this being the fault of the maskless, and while they are certainly not the only ones at fault — let’s all stare at the federal and state governments that have got us to where we are today, y’all — let’s not pretend that the folks who absolutely refused to perform sensible prophylactic practices don’t bear a large chunk of the responsibility. Not just for no college football, although that is a big one here in the US, all things considered, but also for the general grinding and sputtering of our economy and its recovery. As I noted in a follow-up tweet, the maskless have done more to destroy the American capitalist system in a few short months than three whole decades of college socialists. The college socialists wear their fucking masks, people. Even when they’re out there protesting.

I went to a Division III school (which had already cancelled its fall sports in July anyway), so from an alumni standpoint I don’t have a dog in this hunt; indeed, the only real emotion I feel is happy for my friends from Michigan. Now they won’t have their asses handed to them by Ohio State again this year (that rivalry is a very real thing that affects both states in a way that I, a humble nerd from California, genuinely cannot feel in my bones). But I do suspect football-less fall Saturdays are going to do more to bring the reality of our current situation home to some people than 160,000 dead, millions more infected and a cratered economy. Which is sad, but whatever works.

But yeah: You coulda had college football, folks. All it took was a mask and some basic consideration of other people. But you thought you’d rather not. Enjoy your Saturdays!

Update: 4:42pm — Ooooooh, drama:

Update, 8/11/20, 4:09:Postponed.

— JS

62 Comments on “College Football Doomed”

  1. Note that while I don’t expect the regulars to do this, any comments that are egregiously stupid with regard to COVID and its transmission will just be snipped out summarily. Likewise, let’s not encourage bots and trolls, folks.

  2. So maybe there will be NFL on Saturday? Or maybe it gets axed as well. Wear the #$%^ mask

  3. As a Purdue alumnus and season-ticket holder, I was thrilled to see this, although it took longer than I’d hoped – it’s only a slight exaggeration to say that half the conference has already had outbreaks during workouts, and at least one player is suffering post-COVID health complications. There was no way I was going to any games this year regardless of how they were run – similarly, I’ve skipped all the Indy Eleven USL matches this year – but more importantly, football seemed to be one of the two main factors pushing students back to campus, so maybe there will be ways to keep them safer now that we don’t have to pretend there will be football. (The other is revenue from dorms; that’s a different story.)

    I saw that it’ll affect all fall sports. I have volleyball season tickets too, and let me tell you, as much as I enjoy going to Holloway to watch the Boilers, it’s quite possibly the worst imaginable sports scenario during a pandemic: small gym, poor HVAC system, people sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and back-to-knees, fans within feet of the players. (I guess wrestling could be worse for the athletes … and they also wrestle in Holloway.) Put it all on hold and start working on needs for the 2021 seasons.

  4. Let’s hope that the maskless grasp that waving guns at the decision-makers won’t change anything.

  5. My college banned NCAA football when I was there. But then stupidly brought it back. It is just exploitation of (some) students and dilution of the primary mission of the institution. But what do I know? It’s all about the Benjamins.

  6. The fattest part of the “college football fan” bell curve is probably also the most likely to blame “all the libs” and “their” state/local governments for shutting down the country and, therefore, being the “real” cause of the football shutdown.

  7. Let’s see, I attended Penn State (100K), Mississippi (75K?) and Michigan State (100K) I know it’ll suck for the fans (I’ve never been to a college football game), it will be interesting to hear the outcry online…

  8. The version I got by email had “Pac-10” rather than the “Pac-12” I note above. Was going to note that, in that the Pac-12 is the only college conference with a number in its name that actually has that many teams in the conference. The Big We Can’t Count Past Ten has either 14 or 15 members, depending on whether you count Johns Hopkins lacrosse-only (both genders) membership. The Big 12 has either 10 or 21 members, the latter if you count affiliate one-sport members like, oh, Alabama (women’s rowing). The Atlantic 10 has fourteen, sixteen if you count the two only playing women’s field hockey.

  9. Re: The Toledo War

    Yeah, but Ohio “won” Toledo. Is that something to brag about? I kid!

    But I’m just rattling cages as I’m an MSU alumnus/fan. We were only good against OSU a few times this last decade.

    Well, I guess I’ll save some coin on not having MSU season tickets this fall. Perhaps I’ll get to buy some in the spring.

  10. As a native Californian currently residing in Alabama, all I can say is “I saw this coming in February”. People with no clue as to the damage they are doing, and those who might have a clue but “Owning the libs”, are very much culpable. Those of us who are doing their dead-level best to stem the tide feel like the kids who did the group project on their own just to salvage their own grades, and reluctantly bringing the lazy kids along with us. This time, the homework is required, and a very small minority are shredding the homework that the other kids did! I have been near the Auburn stadium, and the Tuscaloosa stadium (When football season was out, you couldn’t get me within 50 miles of either when season is in…) and all I can say is “Good.”

  11. Yep. I’m from Alabama and the collapse of the SEC might be the only thing that makes it ‘real’ to a huge number of people.

    It’s been an uphill fight, from our cowardly Governor to a group of doctors literally pleading with the Montgomery City Council to put in a mask requirement and then walking out en masse when the Council declined the motion minutes later. (Thankfully our new Mayor (The first POC mayor of Montgomery, ever) put it in place the next day and the Council ‘apologized’).

    Our main geek/nerd group had to create a FB group so we could share and rate ‘safe’ businesses and places in the city. It’s now grown far beyond that. to 1300 members.

  12. I’m a college football fan, and I fully support postponing or canceling the season.

    In my home state of Nebraska, I’ve seen commentary about how critical this issue is. And with that, I also agree. It’s a matter of life and death; that’s pretty critical.

    And of course I saw a tweet just today from someone saying that college football may not recover if the season is canceled. Gawd, what malarkey. College football fans are going to somehow forget their love of the game if it isn’t played this fall? Players and coaches are going to just walk away? The NFL, which has been using college football as a free developmental league for decades, is going to shrug and say, “Oh, well, that’s that?”


  13. Michael Diaz,

    Toledo is the jewel of Lake Erie and the envy of all Michigan natives and we own it. In my time at OSU in the ’70s we lost a lot of times to Michigan but we have now turned the tables and taken back our rightful place. Let me savor the revenge!

  14. Maybe this will get some folks’ attention.

    I read an article once (in Inc. magazine maybe) about a company that was having big time cash problems and the things that they tried to do to get employees to tighten the belt a little. The net was that all of the cajolling of management fell on deaf ears until they got rid of the plants in the lobby (a trivial expense really) – people were all “WOAH! The company must be in REALLY bad shape! We had better start watching the budget!”

  15. I work for a modest-sized university in the Big 12 (current membership: 10 schools). It’s the only major industry in this town, and the school and its sports play a big part in the local economics. There’s no way that anybody should be playing organized sports right or congregating on campus now, and yet, I shudder to think how many tax dollars and jobs will be lost in the coming year. So yes, big thanks to all you non-mask-wearers out there. You’re killing my employer and killing my town. Covid ain’t helping, but you’re making it worse.


    food insecurity and idle teenagers… problems that could fix one another by way of sub-urban farming… a worthy focus for long term blogging <– Grow 100 lbs. Potatoes 4 Square Feet

  17. The incredibly-hyped, computer graphic-intensive, gigantic gladiator games known as “football” (in the US), the sheer brutality and tribalism of them…. I am not immune by any means: I scream for the Seahawks and Huskies until I’m hoarse, do a little dance when they win, and get mopey when they don’t.

    But there has always been a portion of my brain that watches the whole spectacle with a bemused anthropological eye. Is the whole thing a form of sublimated war, a substitute for the real thing? Is the intense affinity and loyalty a heartwarming expression of hometown fervor, or a ruthlessly stimulated proxy for it, meant mostly to put as much money as possible in sponsor pockets?

    So the amateur anthropologist in me is very interested to see what happens when the most overt, most stylized, and most monetized display of tribal affiliation outside of politics just… doesn’t happen this year. Will there be more or less actual violence in communities? Will people experiment with doing actual sports and other activities themselves, and realize that is more fulfilling than being spectators to other people playing? Will universities rethink their reliance on athletic programs for money and fame?

    One of many changes caused by our Lost Year(s).

  18. Ben Sasse (R-asshole) wrote a letter about this, saying that the “kids” would be better off in a structured environment with healthcare available, rather than back in their communities. In the usual Republican inability to see the contradictions in what he writes, he manages to miss the point – if the US had a functioning healthcare system, it wouldn’t matter where they were.

  19. A friend works at a southern state university and was ordered to go back to working on campus even though they were doing all their work by Zoom or computer. Was very upset being ordered to risk their life just so the uni could say it was therefore safe enough to start preseason football practices. I’m thankful to have a job at a school that cares about the lives of its employees.

  20. My peak college football fan year occurred when I was 12. Growing knowledge of the damage caused to young bodies by the game has made it difficult for me to enjoy now. As an employee of a Big 12(10) school—in contention for highest $$/victory ratio for the past several years—I have even less personal enthusiasm for the enterprise. Even a fraction of the funds spent on football facilities would make an enormous difference to the classrooms we teach in. On the other hand, I can’t escape the current reality that sport success has a large role in public perception & awareness of the university. I expect changing that will require more than a pandemic.

  21. Vis-a-vis the “Toledo War” Michigan did get the Peninsula out of it as compensation…though some might argue whether that is much of a prize.

  22. As for the real topic here the sad thing is that this isn’t THAT much of a plague…we could have gotten something that even reasonable precautions wouldn’t have done jack for us (fingers crossed).

  23. They could do college sports, if they were willing to put the players in a bubble as the NBA has (and, notably, MLB has not). Of course, those players are being paid very well for that sacrifice, and college athletes are “amateurs”.

    The Pac12 in particular is in between the rock and the hard place, because they’ll have a much bigger liability issue if they go forward in the teeth of the “union” defiance and the inevitable bad things happen.

  24. 1) Since Sasse has more or less spent four years letting the toddler in the White House do whatever he wants, I’m not sure his theories and principles are worth a full latrine. Structure is helpful, but only if it’s intact and functional – once parents and teachers start visiting Mr. COVID, then the structure won’t be stable for long, and will drive home lots of lessons that I think he would rather not have them learn yet (including learning that lots of the GOP think their parents and teachers are expendable).

    2) One of my friends did nursing school in Toledo and called it “Detroit without the culture or hope”.

  25. So, have you given up doing the Five Things, because it’s been ten days.

    I miss it.

  26. Hi Matthew S. Rotundo, another Nebraskan here :: waves ::

    I enjoy watching college sports more than pro sports, but I’m all for calling off fall semester sports. My only concern about it has to do with how to keep those kids from losing their scholarships if they don’t play.

  27. I’m so not a fan that I don’t even know to which conference the university I work at belongs. But we start F2F/hybrid classes next week, and at this red-hot moment plan to play football – with a 25% cap on attendance. According to our CEO, about a month ago, if we ended up this fall with no football revenue layoffs would have to start. There’s something really wrong with the finances and priorities if that is true.
    The student athletes haven’t been given any real choice, and that is wrong on many levels. About half our library staff fall in one or more of the “at-risk’ categories, so you can imagine the anxiety levels. We’ll see what student compliance with all our safety protocols looks like. I have low expectations for student behavior outside class, so this will probably end up as a real-time experiment of how effective mask wearing can be. Face coverings are required in all public spaces, which thankfully includes the entire library.
    long day – really rambling. WEAR THE FREAKING MASK.

  28. Out here in Pac-12 territory, we’ve been expecting it for a while. As a gigantic UW Huskies fan, it sucks, but it is the right thing to do. If it isn’t safe for the student body to be on campus, it isn’t safe for players, either. It’s a game, and I can wait a year if it keeps a bunch of kids safe.

    Hey, do we get a malleting for taking football shots? Because there’s a whole line of jokes about Michigan finally not losing to Ohio State this year, and I’d like to remind our Purdue alum that the last game Drew Brees played in a Boilermaker uniform he got trucked by a Marques Tuiassasopo lead Huskies team in the Rose Bowl, and the best three college coaches in history are all named Don James.

    I won’t say those things if we aren’t supposed to, though.

  29. Good they should call it off. Focus on education for now and not sportsball.

    Also this post was a bit churlish. I was not surprised but it’s rather misdirected.

  30. Not to be picky, but it hasn’t helped that the government first said no mask and then yes mask.. I believe that if they had spoken the truth about masks and admitted the shortage the country would have risen to the occasion and worn masks when available. No shut down would have been needed if you look at the countries who have historically worn masks and have very small deaths per million of population ….. Japan 7, Taiwan 20, China 3, Thailand 48, Hong Kong 8…. as compared to our 492… Sweden 570 Also, in judging my FB page I would say rednecks are a national phenom.

  31. If the coronavirus impacts basketball season, there will be riots where I live. I used to think Hoosiers were obsessed with basketball, then I moved to Kentucky.

  32. They aren’t going to admit the blame, they are going to deflect it, and say masks are causing covid or other such nonsense.
    The truth is, covid isn’t “bad” enough to have been taken seriously. If it had symptoms like ebola or other scary diseases, complete lockdown along with death rates would have stopped the spread.
    Instead we’ve got what doctors have worried about for decades, a disease that in most may range from no symptoms at all while still being contagious, to survivable, while killing a percentage. It hits the sweet spot of being highly contagious and killing people, but not being so bad that people are universally acting to stop the spread.
    Next we are going to check off another box in setups for post apocalyptic fiction, rushed vaccines and treatments. We have never found a vaccine or significant treatment for the first 6 coronaviruses that jumped to humans. Sure SARS and MERS were brought under control mostly by quarantine, but the other 4 we have been dealing with and searching for a vaccine for a very long time. HCoV-OC43, HCoV-HKU1, HCoV-229E, and HCoV-NL63 are their names, and they cause 15% of common colds. The first seems to have started around 1890. Immunity to these viruses has been temporary, you can get the same one again after a few years, so antivirus may have limited effect. Rushed antivirus could have side effects worse than the disease. I’m not saying it’s likely, but it has happened, it’s possible. With the many vaccine efforts going on, maybe one or more will have this problem. I really want to see some unambiguous test results before my family gets a vaccine.

  33. I think it’s likely there’ll be a vaccine, but it’ll take time, The COVID vaccines in development are based on MERS vaccines – so people have enough information to know whether they can make one for COVID or not. Of course, we didn’t do what we should have done to either stop spread or avoid economic dislocation (levitical test and trace) because our freedom is worth your life and so we end up paying in lives and money what we weren’t willing to pay to avoid this. I guess this is what makes America great now. Hurray?

    If schools want football that badly, they should probably do conference-size bubbles, but denial is much cheaper and easier, so that’s what we get instead.

  34. If losing out on football (any variety, high school, college, or pro) doesn’t finally get through to some of the idiots, NOTHING WILL. I grew up largely in Texas, where football might as well be the state religion. I’m quite sure there are people who value it over actual human lives.

  35. “If they cancel college football, the SEC schools will have a cure by next Friday. Probably Vandy though; it’s about time they won a championship in something.” –It’s A Southern Thing

  36. I agree with almost all of this but surely “Just 15% of Alabama ICU beds are available as of six days ago” is not any kind of useful metric. Whether hospitals are being built by government or private enterprise, _nobody_ plans for ICUs to have 15% vacancy! That’s a huge waste of resources. The fact that they do have 15% vacancy is due to clearing ICUs _for_ COVID.

  37. Call me odd, but I went to college with the idea that I was to exercise my mind, not body. I understand the whole thing about college sports being a big attraction for some, and for the larger schools a huge money maker. To me that whole thing always smacked of a parasitic infection draining the vigor of the real reason for having establishments. Isn’t the whole purpose to create a poll of highly educated professionals to allow the people in the USA to excel across the world?

    I doubt my own opinions in the end matter much. However hitting the reset button for one year isn’t going to be the end. Maybe a few colleges/university systems will re-evaluate the scope of their vast athletic programs, then again maybe we’re all just impatient for this whole thing to run its course to get back to what the heck passes for normal in today’s world.

  38. I’ve been waiting for this to happen. I went to a prominent SEC school and live in a state with another, and I’ve speculated for a while that the anti mask crowd won’t believe covid is really a thing until it hits them where it hurts – right in the football.

    Who knows, maybe cancellation of the football season would be a wake up call for some…

  39. Not sure what division is in, but all the football players I was in school with were studying their asses off, including on the sidelines during games, because they weren’t going to waste a full ride at a decent school.

    “let’s not pretend that the folks who absolutely refused to perform sensible prophylactic practices don’t bear a large chunk of the responsibility”
    Ever read “…And the Band Played On”? There’s an interesting similarity between the reaction of “conservatives” refusing to take sensible measures, and the people in that book. It was an eye opener when I (a middle class straight white boy who was in the Army at the time) read it in 88 or so. It’s an eye opener today because of the similarities between gay men in San Francisco in the mid 80’s, and conservatives today.

    Humans gonna human, I guess.

  40. Since I’m from Nebraska, I do understand the emotional drive that foments the enthusiasm for the sport. I still watch it on TV occasionally and I have a big N t-shirt. Stephen Fry did a travel series in which he assessed American culture, choosing to attend a college game in Alabama (between the two state universities there, as I recall). He ended his comments before the actual game had even begun, saying as I recall that it was emblematic of the excessive quality of Americans, over the top, over-expensive, over-enthusiastic, etc. Since the players are working, I doubt they get into the frenzy the fans can enjoy. I think the frenzy may be a corrective to the extraordinary conformity of Americans, noted by various foreign tourists over our few centuries. I also agree with the commenters who point out that Covid-19 isn’t bad enough to take seriously by many, because going for drama is also an American thing. We expect to be heroes, after all, because our national story, the dominant one, anyway, is heroism. While the story tends to focus on an individual, these team sports are closest to many hearts, rather than most individual sports. So maybe football, etc., acts as a corrective to our excessive idealizing of the heroic individual, presenting instead a heroic team. Just thinking—thanks for bringing it up.
    PS I also liked the 5 things but as the posts have been coming thickly, I can’t complain.

  41. It interesting to me that so many are talking about how college age athletes are more likely to die from alcohol poisoning or car accidents the Covid infection. That may be true. What about their parents and grandparents (multi-generational households) or family members who are immune compromised or have other risk factors? Even if the “student” athletes are asymptotic doesn’t mean they wont shed virus.

  42. I heard about that, Grace. That is a solid plan – a big advantage to being a sport with a solid ruling organization. (And given the success of the NWSL Challenge Cup and the current success in the Wubble, I wouldn’t argue with Binney’s observation, either.) The NCAA apparently chooses not to serve that purpose in college sports, unfortunately …

  43. Are you at least willing to entertain the possibility that the effectiveness of masks is limited? I live in a state with a mask mandate for almost 4 months (Michigan). The compliance I’ve observed has varied over time, but usually over 75% in indoor public places (close to 100% over the last few weeks). Our reward for this is continued community infections and continued closures of gyms, theaters, bowling alleys, schools, etc…..

  44. Craig:

    Your anecdote is anecdotal.

    Also I’m not aware suggesting that masks are perfect barrier to infection, especially without other techniques like social distancing being employed; also if masks are used poorly (for example, with one’s nose hanging out of it), their effectiveness will, indeed, be limited.

  45. @ Craig:

    “The compliance I’ve observed has varied over time, but usually over 75% in indoor public places (close to 100% over the last few weeks).”

    If people are spending prolonged periods of time in indoor public places, the benefits of mask wearing are indeed very limited.

    Masks are effective in reducing the probability of infection outdoors, or during brief indoor stay. E.g. going into a capacity-restricted supermarket to shop for food. Or walking along a crowded sidewalk. Or standing around other people in a park (socially distanced). Donning a mask does not confer magical protection against stupid choices.

    Hanging out in gyms, bars, restaurants, schools or theaters will result in continued infections, mask or no mask.

  46. Well, for everyone bitching about the effectiveness of masks or social distancing, there is a evidence of working solutions all around: just look at ALL the other countries that have effectively curtailed their infections and reduced their cases, infection rates and deaths. They aren’t doing anything magical – just following public health advice on avoiding group activities, maintaining social distancing etc.


    Ontario is now (mostly) moving into Phase 3 of re-opening. Businesses re-opening, you can now dine-in in many restaurants. Movie theatres are opening back up (though I don’t know anyone that wants to take that chance and go). No live sports yet but we have NHL teams playing right here in Toronto. Safely.

    Canada is not that different economically from the US – similar population, similar economies, lots of small businesses, and, aside from the structure of our health care system, we pretty much started at the same place the US did but we’ve ended up in radically different end states.

    We even had a hard conservative party in power with a populist blowhard running it, but the difference is, he listened to medical advice, acted sensibly and accordingly, worked with his counterparts and here is where we are now. His popularity and polling is now skyhigh. If Trump had an ounce of sense, he would have shut up and let the public health people / CDC operate, and he’d be threatening to win the fall election at a walk…

    So if you want to watch football, steel yourselves, social distance some more, suck it up, test like crazy, track and trace, and put on a damn mask for another 3-4 months, and bring down your infection rates.

    Or re-locate your football teams en masse to somewhere outside of the zombie apocalypse that the US has now become.

  47. Behold yet one more profound and far-reaching consequence of chronic stupidity and selfishness!

    I am not at all shocked at this development. I caught a few minutes of sports radio a few months back and can recall their predicting just this.

    Studiously ignoring what covid has and continues to do to life and work in this country indicates a degree of idiocy and delusion that, at this point, no amount of anxiety or denial (charitable people have and continue to attribute covidiot behavior to a fear of or inability to cope with the new normal) can excuse.

    I was furious and breathing fire over these creatures a few months back.

    Now, resignation has settled over me and I’ve chosen to pass the time pointing/laughing at their antics and preparing for Fall outbreaks and the resultant panic.

    My sentiments exactly. It’s unfortunate that, unlike in school, we can’t ensure that said groupmates don’t get the fruits of the work we all did.

    The closest we can come to that kind of thing is avoiding, and persuading friends and family to avoid, individuals and establishments that eschew basic safety measures.

    I also love seeing stores and restaurants stand firm in the face of “murican freedom” lovin folks who think they have the right to flout the rules.

    The explosion of name-and-shame videos on social media can’t hurt, either.

    Going bare-faced in public should be treated like public urination or defecation.

    @Jim Lewis:
    I believe that if the commander and chief or his gibbering band of mouthpieces had, waaaaaay back in January, “spoken the truth” about, well, anything, The United States wouldn’t be the festering bedsore on the globe’s butt, the one with an ever-widening circle of rot spreading at its edges and repelling what allies we had left.

    @Erick Bud:

    I’d put that down to the “Me” culture. More specifically, it comes down to people only thinking in terms of how they themselves will or won’t fall ill. Other people don’t even register an afterthought.

    Finally, because I fear the mallet, I am going to violently resist the urge to stomp a digital hole in the ass of the person who, in one noxious gout of words, attributes, even by implication, the aids outbreak solely to gay men and uses that attribution to excuse covidiocy.

    What a stunningly stupid example of whataboutism.

    Sorry, John.

  48. Well, you know it is a proven fact that if the solution to a problem isn’t 100% effective, then the best course of action is to do nothing at all.

    I mean, that’s why surgeons don’t wear masks when operating on you. Whats the point!?

  49. “Your anecdote is anecdotal. ”

    The only anecdote was my estimation of mask compliance. The facts are that Michigan has had a mask mandate since April 27 and that case counts remain steady (796 cases today – counts have been roughly in that neighborhood over the last 5 weeks). All I’ve heard for months from everyone is “wear the damn mask” and we can try to get back to some sort of normal. OK, fine…mission accomplished. But it hasn’t made a difference for things I care about. My kids still won’t see the inside of a classroom this fall. I can’t help but reach the conclusion that masks have been oversold as a policy prescription to deal with the pandemic.

    So maybe we still wouldn’t have had fall football even if everyone was masking up…..

  50. Now that the Big 10 has cancelled this season, it leaves a hole in network coverage. That means a new and outrageously huge new contract for the NFL. I have seen a few things of how they are going to deal with fanless stadiums.

    The amount of teams they have will allow them to put out two games each week night and three on each weekend. That will dominate the television audience for 16 weeks.

    It will create another monster that most won’t see a s a monster, just like Covid.

  51. Well, we could consult Herman Cain and other departed covidiots on the wisdom of going bare-faced into large crowds during a pandemic.

    Oh, wait.

    Good parents will figure out how to occupy and educate their children at home so that they don’t have to figure out who gets to be among the few mourners at their memorial services.

    One thing these people seem to forget is that the husk in the ICU bed or refrigerated truck could be them or one of their loved ones.

    And to paraphrase Fat man: masking + stupidity=the negation of what protection it offers.

    More importantly, if I had a dollar for every person who needed to be reminded how contagions work (ever think the percentage of noncompliant folks could be spreading the virus?), I’d have enough to blow this pop stand in favor of a smarter, more empathetic nation.

  52. “ I can’t help but reach the conclusion that masks have been oversold as a policy prescription to deal with the pandemic.”
    Yes, you can. Mask wearing is one (1) thing people can do that helps slow the spread until there’s a vaccine. It doesn’t work on its own, and reduces rather than eliminates risk, but requires (a) to be done properly and widely to help at all, and (b) to be combined with other behaviors, such as social distancing, staying home as much as possible and having good hand and other hygiene. Not to mention fast and adequate testing and tracing.

    Scalzi, I’m delighted the football is cancelled. No sport involving sustained physical contact can be safe at present, and basketball and football seem like Petri dishes for infection. Pro golf seems to be going OK, and maybe tennis might be all right. Baseball seems iffy in general and way too dangerous when teams want to brawl with each other, as too many do.

    Speaking of things to think about, is everybody making a plan to ensure that they can safely cast a valid vote in 2020? Trump is sabotaging the US Postal Service pretty effectively, and his current plan seems to be to demand a result on Nov. 3 and try to throw out all uncounted ballots.

  53. Msb @4.49:

    I’m in Washington state; we’ve been doing postal voting for a decade, but I have noticed more encouragement this year for folks to use the secure ballot dropboxes if they can get to one – I’m also outside Seattle, in a more rural county, so there’s a bit of driving involved.

  54. Sorry, John.

    So the Pac-12 is out, and the Big Ten are out – the SEC, ACC and Big 12 are going ahead. It looks as if the Pac-12 commissioner and the board actually listened to the concerns of their medical advisory board; from The Seattle Times, about three hours ago:

    Dr. Jonathan Drezner — director of the [University of Washington] Medicine Center for Sports Cardiology and a UW team physician — gave voice to those concerns in a phone interview with The Times on Monday night.

    “We’re hearing from colleagues at other Power Five institutions who are finding cases of myocarditis in their athletes who had asymptomatic or mild (COVID-19) infections,” said Drezner, who represents UW on the Pac-12 Medical Advisory Board. “It has really raised a concern within the medical community that there’s just a lot of unanswered questions that we need to learn more about as we think about sports.”

    According to Drezner — the team physician for UW men’s basketball, track and field and cross-country, who also works with the Seattle Seahawks and OL Reign — myocarditis is responsible for roughly 9% of sudden cardiac deaths in college athletes. It can also cause rapid or abnormal heart rhythms or scar tissue in the heart. It is typically caused by a viral infection, including those associated with the common cold, H1N1 influenza or mononucleosis.

  55. Craig,

    Michigan has one of the best rankings of social distancing guidelines in the U.S., thanks to the mask mandate (and no thanks to Trump’s “Liberate Michigan” tweets and the armed jerks at the state capitol’s doors) and they’ve flattened the curve. Not to nothing (like other countries which have essentially knocked it out because of masks and other social distancing guidelines, to the extent that U.S. travelers aren’t permitted to travel there). But that doesn’t mean mask guidelines should quickly stop, like other states have done (Florida? Texas? Georgia?) It means the states should keep it up.

    Yeah, it’s too bad you can’t do everything you want without a mask. I don’t enjoy wearing mine to hike to the store, and I miss heading to my neighborhood bar for a quick drink. And It’s certainly too bad that kids can’t go back to school in the fall. It’s not happening here in Chicago, where I live (and I’m glad my son is out of school so I don’t have to make that decision).

    You said: “But it hasn’t made a difference for things I care about. My kids still won’t see the inside of a classroom this fall.”

    I assume you care about your kids’ health, and your own, and your family. Remember that anyone can transmit COVID-19 even if they’re not symptomatic. I have family and friends in Michigan. This is kind of personal to me.

    That said, all the best. Stay safe.

  56. Haven’t noticed it mentioned in this thread but, as much as the college presidents at the big time football schools want to play ball, they might be willing to scratch a season if it staves off a college players’ union (PAC-12 in particular). Still, playing football in this environment is one of the stupidest ideas in the world; particularly for free.

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