Would They Actually Cancel It?
The Olympics are the world’s most watched sporting event, followed closely by the FIFA World Cup, but with a viewership of 3.6 billion people, the Olympics appear on the TVs of more than half of the world’s population. The event is also a long-standing tradition, recurring at regular intervals since 1896 and have not been cancelled except for World Wars (1916 was cancelled for World War I and the Olympics in 1940 and 1944 for World War II). However, there might be a new cause for a cancellation on the horizon, though I think it is unlikely.
The novel coronavirus, also known as COV-19, has ravaged China and has spread to various other countries, reaching every continent except Antarctica, with over 2,100 dead and over 76,000 confirmed cases. This obviously isn’t the worst pandemic in history, thanks to exponentially better medical technology than ever, but it’s still concerning because there’s no vaccine for the virus, and it’ll take between 12 and 18 months to formulate and distribute one.
So, what’s the problem? The problem is that the Olympics are being held in Tokyo, very close to China, the epicenter of the disease. News coming from the International Olympic Committee is that a decision on cancelling the Games will likely be made in late May. However, I don’t believe that they’ll actually cancel the event.
Remember, in 2016, there were also fears about the Zika virus and how it would affect the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In that case, the disease was present within the host country, Brazil, but the Games still went on. Adding on to that, Brazil’s medical infrastructure, while not poor, isn’t excellent. However, Japan’s medical infrastructure is among the best in the world, and while it is close, Japan is not the epicenter of the coronavirus and all infected persons have been quarantined.
Needless to say, I don’t think we should be too worried. Remember that when SARS came around in the early 2000s, it started to get weaker as the summer months approached and global temperatures got warmer. I think that, while the hysteria about this previously unseen disease should be well-heeded, it won’t affect the Games that we all love.