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We are in Unprecedented Times

Margee Lopez

How many times have you heard the statement that we are in unprecedented times? I thank Bill Sykes and Scott Meritt for forwarding an excellent YouTube presentation by an epidemiologist and avid pickleball player by the name of Hank Weiss.

I will endeavor to glean the highlights from the information he shared.

The idea of a global pandemic is not so unexpected as one may think, due to large populations and mass jet travel. However, in the situation we find ourselves, many missteps have occurred to cause the catastrophic pandemic we are experiencing.

It is thought that China was reluctant to admit there was a problem, followed by other western countries not taking the situation seriously and finally the bungled response effort of many U.S. agencies has put millions of lives in jeopardy.

There is no state that has not been affected and this silent and invisible enemy is or will be in our community at some point.

The COVID-19 is only known to scientists for about four months, hence the word novel preceding its title. It comes from a family of viruses that have been around for many years and have been widely studied.

We know how it travels, which is mainly through droplets of air that touch us or surfaces that we then touch. It remains viable on many surfaces, such as a yellow plastic ball for example. We know that people can be asymtomatic and carry the contagion unbeknown to anyone. They can carry up to 14 days and still expose others. The exact time during which they are contagious is not known.

As this pertains to pickleball players, you don’t know if your partner is free of the virus unless you know his or her history and to the degree that person has practiced social distancing.

Those living with you pose the least risk to have as partners. If a person has gotten the virus and recovered, there is a good chance they will be immune for months up to years. More research is needed to determine this.

What are our choices as pickleball players? Clearly the social distancing in one form or another will be ongoing until a vaccine has been produced or we will be at risk of infection rates skyrocketing again and overburdening our healthcare systems.

We need to look no further than New York to see this alarming reality playing out today.

Consider this as a possible new normal — playing singles! This reduces the rate of contamination by 67%. Doubles play cannot satisfy the six feet distancing rules and is therefore highly risky.

Hands and the ball must be properly disinfected before and after play. Players might consider learning how to scoop the ball and exercise a hands-free serve technique. Otherwise, sanitize hands and consider masks as well. Be creative and look for ways to increase your skill base through online videos, summits and agility exercises.

We have availability to walk and bike on the golf course sidewalks! The concrete paths are wide and there are no concerns about distancing from other walkers. Very easy to walk out onto the grass if someone is coming your direction.

It really is a beautiful walk and we experiment with going different directions.

Stay safe and play it safe!


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