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  1. Baal is offline
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    #1

    Covid-19 outbreak at US table tennis tournament

    So ICC in California, without question one of the top TT clubs in the US, held a junior tournament with 36 players. At least 6 players have now tested positive for Covid-19 but a source tells me as many as 20 other people may be infected. A true super spreader event. In a thread at MyTT, someone associated with ICC described their protocols, which if they were followed ought to have minimized the likelihood of this happening. Either the protocols weren't followed (I can't say, I wasn't there) or they aren't adequate.

    Here is what they say they did: they took people's temperatures (a fairly pointless exercise given what we know now), they asked about symptoms, players didn't change sides, new ball each match, hand sanitizers all over, masks were required except when playing, no spectators, one coach per player and not all players had coaches. The facility is very spacious with very high ceilings and each court is large.

    I'm posting this because in all likelihood, in spite of these precautions, this has the features of a super-spreader event. Will these kids spread it to their families and others? Household spread is really hard to avoid. Again, a minimum of 6 out of 36 players ended up testing positive.

    Short of requiring a vety recent Covid-19 PCR test before playing, I'm not sure there's a whole lot more they could have done (and that's asking too much for a table tennis tournament IMHO). They didn't mandate masks during matches ( to my knowledge this is not done anywhere). And maybe that is what is needed at this point in time?

    In much of the world but ESPECIALLY in the US, this is going to ge a brutal winter, and hospitals here are certain to crack under the pressure of this. There is no avoiding it. This virus is all over the place (unless you live in Taiwan or New Zealand).

    So everybody, please, take care of yourselves and people around you. Wear a mask, and you really might want to reconsider indoor sports, especially in cold climates ( and especially in the US where Covid-19 is spiraling out of control). Here you need to be paranoid for the next few months.

    Bear in mind, my clinician colleagues are increasingly seeing a long lasting Covid-19 syndrome affecting heart and/or brain function along with severe fatigue even in some young athletic people who never had severe respiratory symptoms.

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    Last edited by Baal; 12-09-2020 at 08:44 AM.

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    #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal
    They didn't mandate masks during matches ( to my knowledge this is not done anywhere). And maybe that is what is needed at this point in time?
    Necessary (but possibly not sufficient) to prevent this from happening again.

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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by michealjohnwilliamson
    Soon vaccines will be available and everything will be back to normal.
    Until then, be careful!

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    #4
    This is very unfortunate. I saw that USATT is no longer sanctioning events/tournaments until at least January 15th.

    In France, we were on strict lockdown from March through June, so no sports (clubs closed) for 3 months and the seasons ended early. We're now on a second lockdown since late October until at least January 20th, so no sports allowed for at least another 3 months, other than for pros and also a few hundred promising youths (who can only train one on one with a coach or within their boarding training facility). For TT, the plan is to finish the season as a half season (no return games). Seems to be the only way.
    Last edited by thomas.pong; 12-08-2020 at 12:49 PM.

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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by thomas.pong
    This is very unfortunate. I saw that USATT is no longer sanctioning events/tournaments until at least January 15th.

    In France, we were on strict lockdown from March through June, so no sports (clubs closed) for 3 months and the seasons ended early. We're now on a second lockdown since late October until at least January 20th, so no sports allowed for at least another 3 months, other than for pros and also a few hundred promising youths (who can only train one on one with a coach or within their boarding training facility). For TT, the plan is to finish the season as a half season (no return games). Seems to be the only way.
    In Belgium it's also like this.

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    #6
    Quote Originally Posted by CLV
    In Belgium it's also like this.
    Yea, unfortunately I think it's the only way to prevent something like what happened at ICC (big club / US national team training center in Northern California).

    Back in November, a regular soccer club an hour from where I live had 9 cases which quickly turned into at least a total of 50... It sucks not to be able to play (it's our passion), but I think it's something we just have to accept right now until vaccines are widely available.

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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by michealjohnwilliamson
    Soon vaccines will be available and everything will be back to normal.
    Yeah but it'll be like 2 years until the general public gets them with 100% effectiveness, assuming everyone chooses to vaccinate.

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    #8
    Pretty irresponsible of the ICC club. I hope everyone will be fine.

  9. Baal is offline
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    #9
    I didn't write this to smear ICC. I wrote it to show what can happen and so that forum members can make informed decisions. Indoor sports are not safe right now.

    Possibly as a result of this outbreak, USATT has suspended all tournaments and sanctioned activities until January 21, 2021.

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    Last edited by Baal; 12-09-2020 at 08:42 AM.

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    #10
    I have to be honest here:
    I really don't get it that the country with the highest numbers in infection and deaths is still playing tournaments like that.
    There are NO suitable measurements for such an event with a pandemic running wild. Every player will contaminate the whole place during the match. Even a mask will not help.
    When seeing this, I now know why the USA are not getting anywhere within the pandemic.... I mean, the main problem is the one idiot who is leading this country.

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    #11
    For people interested in the measures the ICC took and the details of their experience with covid19 before this incident, a thread is here:

    http://mytabletennis.net/forum/topic...2.html#1106109

    FWIW, I find a lot of the posts here to assume a bit much about the state of covid19 in Europe vs the US. The US has a geographical area and population so large that it has multiple regions with different climate patterns and regions so you need to treat those individual regions as distinct countries to see what is happening with the disease.

    Over time though, people who are interested in the science of this disease will see that seasonality and likely demographics/immunity/health were far more influential in its impact than NPIs mandated by governments. But for now, politics will inevitably trump a dispassionate attempt to understand why a club with enforced mask mandates and social distancing failed to control the spread of the virus at one event out of the many it had.

    I don't believe in the absence of rapid testing that it is possible to hold a tournament and plausibly guarantee the safety of anyone from the coronavirus during the winter season for sure and likely to a lesser degree at any time in the year. And I think the refusal to sanction tournaments, should the USATT want to remain consistent, should probably last through March.

    As always, I am not an expert. Just stating my very informed opinion like anyone else can.
    Last edited by NextLevel; 12-09-2020 at 11:05 AM.
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  12. Baal is offline
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    #12
    The winter wave sweeping through the northern hemisphere was predicted, and it is making things tough everywhere, but like I said, hospital systems have already cracked in some places here in the US and it will get worse before it gets better, especially after all the Christmas social interactions and travel.

    Somehow denying epidemiological realities became a political stance in some places. It didn't have to be that way, at least not about something as obvious and fundamentally trivial as wearing a damn mask, but here we are.

    Unfortunately it is a fact of human history that really horrific pandemics like this are very disruptive from purely socioeconomic and psychosocial perspectives. And this the worst global pandemic in a century.

    I agree with NL that USATT should postpone all events until March.

    We will get through this, but for now run, hike, ride your bike, stay fit however you can. Outdoors. Until the vaccines are distributed the only tool you have is behavior. You can wear a mask and you can be mindful of social distancing, and abso,Utley minimize your exposure to crowded indoor spaces.. (And maybe now is a really bad time to be deficient in Vitamin D, but I digress).

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    Last edited by Baal; 12-09-2020 at 11:42 AM.

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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal
    The winter wave sweeping through the northern hemisphere was predicted, and it is making things tough everywhere, but like I said, hospital systems have already cracked in some places here in the US and it will get worse before it gets better, especially after all the Christmas social interactions and travel.

    Somehow denying epidemiological realities became a political stance in some places. It didn't have to be that way, at least not about something as obvious and fundamentally trivial as wearing a damn mask, but here we are.

    Unfortunately it is a fact of human history that really horrific pandemics like this are very disruptive from purely socioeconomic and psychosocial perspectives. And this the worst global pandemic in a century.

    I agree with NL that USATT should postpone all events until March.

    We will get through this, but for now run, hike, ride your bike, stay fit however you can. Outdoors. Until the vaccines are distributed the only tool you have is behavior. You can wear a mask and you can be mindful of social distancing, and abso,Utley minimize your exposure to crowded indoor spaces.. (And maybe now is a really bad time to be deficient in Vitamin D, but I digress).
    I agree on Vitamin D, which for whatever reason is not advertised by the CDC or the media, but arguably has much stronger evidence in its favor than masks, especially for the dark-skinned, ethnic minority populations in the Northern hemisphere that are affected by covid19.
    https://www.nutraingredients.com/Art...itamin-D-alarm

    As for masks, there are lots of countries/states/cities that had mask mandates for most/all of summer into the winter and are now requiring lockdowns. At a certain point, we need to accept that the masks at a population level (whether it is that people are not following the mandates, or that despite following the mandates, people have limitations that make the masks have limitations, like not wearing high quality masks or not wearing them properly) have become a moral signal more than a scientific talking point as there are clear limits to what masks do which we have to figure out. This is purely a data-centric post - I do not doubt that masks have utility in specific situations to reduce spread, but suspect based on the data I have looked at that there are limitations that the mandates are not taking into account. People should wear masks, but every time I see someone talk about how masks did this and that, I sometimes have to remind them that masks were not very popular in Sweden (maybe things have changed in the Winter now), and Sweden has continually fallen on the per capital death impact of covid19 list to the point that it is barely in the top 20 countries in per capita covid19 death rate despite having a significant elder population.
    https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality

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    Last edited by NextLevel; 12-09-2020 at 04:57 PM.
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    #14
    we're still having tournaments in Japan. I played this Sunday. Another one is scheduled this Sunday. But I'm afraid they'll take the same measures than elsewhere... it would really really suck

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    #15
    Hello everyone.

    This is a tough situation indeed.
    PCR test is also pointless as one could get infected from after the testing and prior to getting the result.
    The negative result itself could have incorrectness, so either way, one would assume incorrectly of they status.

    Indeed in such a mess, why is sport tournaments continuing?
    If there was war, would you still host the same?

    I think with ICC's protocols, it is as good as you can do.
    There are limiting the chance of known symptoms not to attend - that is as much you can do as a "small party" and with filtering out people entering.

    Maybe having a new ball every ball would of been better?
    Players need to be wearing masks when not playing, including taking photos....
    Wonder if the airvents have additional filters?
    Was the venue "cleaned" before the tournament?

    The subject of masks.
    Taiwan recommends 3 ply medical grade masks.
    Not some fabric/porous one that is not waterproof.

    So having the wrong protection could also be a major factor here

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    Last edited by CoachTony; 12-09-2020 at 05:16 PM.

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    #16
    Wearing Masks: the point NextLevel made. It is always sort of sad when I see people who think they are wearing a mask and it is under their nose so their nostrils are clearly visible. I think this is also more than simply education.

    I took my mom to an appointment with an Oncologist and got really annoyed with the Dr whose nose was nowhere near the mask. I mean, you don't go visit an oncologist because you are healthy. And here this guy is sitting in his office for hours clearly not wearing a mask but pretending to be wearing one.

    If an oncologist needs to be told how to wear a mask for the safety of his patents, we are in trouble. Never mind the countless employees in pharmacies, grocery stores or banks I have seen wearing their mask on their chin.

    So, it really is hard to tell whether masks are useful or not if close to 50% of the people who are wearing them are not really actually wearing them.

    I am happy that my schedule and my work make it so, at the moment I am very rarely in a room with other people although I see other people outside somewhat regularly.

    And I agree with Baal about outdoor activities. At the beginning of the pandemic I got a bike so I did not have to get on the subways. At first I got it as a means of transportation. But it is nice to have a means of transportation that is also a means of RECREATION and Exercise as well. 20 min ago it was snowing in NYC. If the ground clears up, I am planning to go to Prospect Park for a bit of a ride. Maybe get 20-30 miles in. Yesterday my work day was soooooo long that, today, I decided to give myself a day off. May as well do something good for the head, heart and health.

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    Last edited by UpSideDownCarl; 12-09-2020 at 06:19 PM.
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  17. Baal is offline
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by NextLevel
    I agree on Vitamin D, which for whatever reason is not advertised by the CDC or the media, but arguably has much stronger evidence in its favor than masks, especially for the dark-skinned, ethnic minority populations in the Northern hemisphere that are affected by covid19.
    https://www.nutraingredients.com/Art...itamin-D-alarm

    As for masks, there are lots of countries/states/cities that had mask mandates for most/all of summer into the winter and are now requiring lockdowns. At a certain point, we need to accept that the masks at a population level (whether it is that people are not following the mandates, or that despite following the mandates, people have limitations that make the masks have limitations, like not wearing high quality masks or not wearing them properly) have become a moral signal more than a scientific talking point as there are clear limits to what masks do which we have to figure out. This is purely a data-centric post - I do not doubt that masks have utility in specific situations to reduce spread, but suspect based on the data I have looked at that there are limitations that the mandates are not taking into account. People should wear masks, but every time I see someone talk about how masks did this and that, I sometimes have to remind them that masks were not very popular in Sweden (maybe things have changed in the Winter now), and Sweden has continually fallen on the per capital death impact of covid19 list to the point that it is barely in the top 20 countries in per capita covid19 death rate despite having a significant elder population.
    https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality
    Look at the data from Kansas counties on masks. The data in support of masks is extensive, AND consistent with common sense.

    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6947e2.htm

    But Carl and NL are right that not wearing maks properly is useless,, as are really shifty masks. My wife brought one home that she thought looked cute. I could see through the damned thing, and she was not hapoy when I explained how worthless it was. I have also seen avfew physicians who are careless with masks, mostly though they are pretty careful.

    Personally, if I am in a public indoor area I wear a Chinese KN95 and then put a surgical mask over that. I use a little plastic thing that goes around the back of my head that holds the KN95 tight against my face and doesn't force my ears to stick out. You can get them on Amazon, they make masks a lot more comfortable.

    The available data on Vitamin D all point in the same direction and it is cheap and easy. I take 2000 U/day. None of the studies are very high quality and don't think it will protect you as much as smart behavior. All the same, it's something else you can do that might help protect yourself.

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    Last edited by Baal; 12-09-2020 at 07:14 PM.

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    #18
    Yep. That was the first doctor I have seen not paying attention to wearing a mask properly. And what incensed me was the field he is in. Because, invariably, people who need to see an oncologist are likely to be in the highest risk category.

    And, as far as I am concerned, anything that is simple, but can help you stay safe, should really be worth doing if you consider the toll SARS-CoV-2/CoVID-19 has had on the world.

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    #19

    Covid-19 outbreak at US table tennis tournament

    Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
    Yep. That was the first doctor I have seen not paying attention to wearing a mask properly. And what incensed me was the field he is in. Because, invariably, people who need to see an oncologist are likely to be in the highest risk category.

    And, as far as I am concerned, anything that is simple, but can help you stay safe, should really be worth doing if you consider the toll SARS-CoV-2/CoVID-19 has had on the world.
    The problem is common sense isn’t all that common anymore. Simple steps like a mask and social distancing can save so many lives. Too many people don’t think it can happen to them, and don’t care enough about others.

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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Baal
    Look at the data from Kansas counties on masks. The data in support of masks is extensive, AND consistent with common sense.

    https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6947e2.htm

    But Carl and NL are right that not wearing maks properly is useless,, as are really shifty masks. My wife brought one home that she thought looked cute. I could see through the damned thing, and she was not hapoy when I explained how worthless it was. I have also seen avfew physicians who are careless with masks, mostly though they are pretty careful.

    Personally, if I am in a public indoor area I wear a Chinese KN95 and then put a surgical mask over that. I use a little plastic thing that goes around the back of my head that holds the KN95 tight against my face and doesn't force my ears to stick out. You can get them on Amazon, they make masks a lot more comfortable.

    The available data on Vitamin D all point in the same direction and it is cheap and easy. I take 2000 U/day. None of the studies are very high quality and don't think it will protect you as much as smart behavior. All the same, it's something else you can do that might help protect yourself.
    I have looked at the Kansas study - if the study were against masks, you would see the problems with it more clearly. Even before the study was published by the CDC, Kansas had used it to advocate mask use. And critics noticed the problem (see the article below from the WSJ). Kansas Health cherrypicked periods, did not look at the differences/similarities between county sizes, used percentages to hide issues in the comparison, and failed to note that that cases later increased in all the counties and by more in the masked counties later in the year. This was the earliest critique of the Kansas study but I read quite a few more later:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/kansas-...th-11598483406

    However, the CDC decided to endorse the bad analysis months later without addressing any of the issues in the criticism. One can go to https://covidtracking.com/ and put in the counties in the mask study and decide whether masks are working the way the CDC claims they are.

    In general, this has been an unfortunate trend with covid19 science. When something fits the popular narrative or "common sense", it is often treated without the skepticism that such things should deserve and published quickly. Then the people who criticize it are called "conspiracy theorists" or things like that. Mask effectiveness has become a religion of sorts, with people who support them having no good explanation why places like Philadelphia, which have been under mask mandates the whole year basically, are now having to lockdown other than to claim people are not complying, which does not match my everyday experience. Baal as a scientist would agree that science is not "common sense", but after that, if it agrees with that he thinks is good to believe, he doesn't show it the skepticism he is trained to show it.

    Here is another example in the popular domain, admittedly only a pre-print. This paper argued for masks reducing cases, and then was withdrawn in the past week or so (I appreciate the honesty of the researchers) when they noted that cases had risen in all the areas where mask mandates were in effect and they needed to do a new kind of analysis to see whether their case worked. Just about any study of masks will suffer from this problem in the US given the seasonality of covid19. Yet no one ever accepts this and you hear things like Robert Redfield saying that masks would end the pandemic in the US. Even the flawed Kansas studies never yielded that kind of effect!

    https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1....21.20208728v2

    "Decrease in Hospitalizations for COVID-19 after Mask Mandates in 1083 U.S. Counties"

    Withdrawal The authors have withdrawn this manuscript because there are increased rates of SARS- CoV-2 cases in the areas that we originally analyzed in this study. New analyses in the context of the third surge in the United States are therefore needed and will be undertaken directly in conjunction with the creators of the publicly-available databases on cases, hospitalizations, testing rates. Etc. We will be performing this in conjunction with machine learning experts at UCSF. Therefore, the authors do not wish this work to be cited as reference for the project. We hope to have an updated analysis using data from the 2nd and now 3rd wave of SARS-CoV-2 in this country soon. If you have any questions, please contact the corresponding author.

    In a sense, I am happy we agree on Vitamin D because while none of the studies are great, the evidence for Vitamin D is much stronger than the evidence for masks - both in quality and logic. The issue with Vitamin D in my view is that it isn't clear whether its effect is mostly a marker of metabolic syndrome or it has an independent effect that supplementation can directly address. In any case, there are no RCTs for masks or vitamin D that validate the effects, but the Vitamin D studies are of much higher quality and the size of the proposed effect is much greater and reasonable even for a placebo than the size proposed for masks, which becomes weirder the more one sees rising case rates in places with high levels of compliance and mask mandates. Even the CDC shows in its studies that most people who tested positive for covid19 in its studies wore masks either often or all the time when not at home.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ed/3643312001/

    "Of those 314 patients, 154 tested positive, referred to in the chart as "case patients." Another 160 tested negative, referred to in the chart as "control patients."It's true, as the post claims, that 70.6% of the "case patients" self-reported always wearing masks. But an even higher percentage of the "control patients" who did not contract the virus self-reported always wearing masks, at 74.2%, which suggests that their mask-wearing may have helped stave off the virus."

    A difference in effect, but not enough to end a pandemic (some would quibble more, but my point is not to quibble but point out that the evidence is weak). So it is important for us to continue to keep in perspective what the evidence is saying and not just accept what our feelings tell us must be the case.

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    Last edited by NextLevel; 12-09-2020 at 08:26 PM.
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    "We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training" - Archilochus

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