This is how it works.
An infected person starts to cough.
With influenza, virus particles can be spread as far as one and one half meters. This thing is the same.
That’s in a normal environment.
In an enclosed space, like a subway, where air circulates and lots of people are standing in close proximity, virus particles can float in the air over much larger areas.
The infected person keeps on coughing, and uses a table or something to steady his or herself.
Virus particles can survive on most surfaces for hours if not days.
The next person to touch that surface has those particles on their hands.
The American Journal Of Infection Control has looked into this extensively, and their studies show that we touch our faces around 16-23 times per hour.
So we transfer what’s on our hands directly to our eyes and our mouths.
Just like that, we’ve got virus particles circulating inside us.
Just like that we’re sick, and in a short time we’re contagious.
Covid-19 is more communicable than the flu. Estimates of the fatality rate are around 1-2%. Which is worse than it sounds, and is likely to be higher amongst certain sections of the population, and may be higher still if the health service is overwhelmed.
The last time something this dangerous was in wide circulation, and infecting so many people, was the Spanish Flu of 1918.
50 million people died worldwide. Science has advanced since then, and we’re not going to see casualty figures of that magnitude, but this is a novel virus with no cure and no effective treatment. The CDC has a “pandemic severity index” which ranks the threat to human life on a scale from 1-5, with 5 being the most severe.
Covid-19 would qualify – at a minimum – as a 4.
This is not alarmist. These are cold, hard facts. The WHO has just declared this a pandemic.
Across Europe, and the world, governments are taking major actions … some of which might even seem draconian, but actually aren’t.
Here in Scotland we seem to be prepared to let 50,000 people travel from all over the country, on buses and trains, to gather in stadium concourses, to squeeze through gates, and into other enclosed spaces, to put their hands on bannisters and railings and elevator buttons and plastic seats and counter tops, and to cough and sweat and sneeze, to watch a football match.
And additionally, we’re willing to let tens of thousands more gather in pubs and bars across the country, doing all of that and more, at a time when we know this thing is rife.
That’s fine, because we’ll bring down the shutters the very next day.
Wow. I really don’t know what more to say.
It kind of astounds you when you consider the implications of it.
The irresponsibility of it blows me away.
We’ve reached what all the experts acknowledge is a moment of profound crisis, and the Scottish Government is pandering to vested interests and taking a monumental gamble with public health and safety. Because it’s a high profile game.
What nonsense this is. What a dereliction of duty and an abrogation of leadership.
There is one course of action which makes sense here, and that’s to shut this one down. Cancel it or play it behind closed doors, but on no account should a football match of any magnitude at all, be allowed to jeopardise the health and well-being of the public like this.
The risks of it are enormous.
The potential consequences are almost too vast to quantify.
I cannot believe that intelligent people are willing to take such a reckless gamble. It begs the question as to what Celtic thinks of this; our players are at risk here and if even one of them gets this thing then all bets are off and the season probably comes to a halt.
Our club has to make a statement on this matter tonight, and set out a response to this situation.
For the Scottish Government to so willingly risk the health and safety of our players and our fans by delaying implementation of what they know is the right thing for 24 hours just so this game can take place, as though we were in a normal situation, is scandalous.
Celtic cannot be silent on this.
This is not one of these times when we can, or should, maintain a dignified silence.
It’s not about football, it’s about safety.