Jae K wrote:
If the objective of what you are saying is to not distance while outdoors, I would disagree with you.
if that were my objective, you would be right to disagree with me. if you want to know my posture on this, i think i state it pretty clearly in my prelude to the first-person account of IM AZ 70.3, reachable via our front page.
I think you mistook my disagreement--it was a reply to another respondent and not you.
But I did read your prelude, which was thoughtfully written. Nice article! By the looks of the article and IM Safe Return to Racing Event Guidelines, I applaud the IM organization for an excellent set of guidelines and for the methods deployed in the execution of its "proof-of-concept" pilot event; however, I do not believe the timing was prudent.
The Subject Header reads "Epidemiological" question, which is the study of disease in populations and not just individuals, something I know a little about. The US and much of the globe is in the midst of a COVID-19 surge during a period when it is critical to control spread for public health, ie before winter and flu season, when clinical manifestations are confounded, spread is increased from indoor contacts, and health systems more stressed. Irrespective of the care IM might have taken with the event itself, the country is in the midst of a growing pandemic surge including Arizona, with had an increase from ~<400 daily cases of COVID a few weeks ago to nearing almost ~1000 cases daily (~100% increase), most of which was in Maricopa County where the IM event occurred. The increase in cases in Maricopa county is most likely due to inadequate safety and distancing behaviors endemic to the region. Not only will the IM event be difficult to exonerate from any contribution to adverse regional trends, the event itself is drawn from the participation of national and international participants traveling through airports, transportation, contacts, from and through regions likely experiencing disease surges themselves, participating in an event with a density of interactions of traveling athletes, local residents, shops, restaurants, hotels, etc. Arizona also has permissive regional practices with no travel restrictions for out-of-state visitors. I believe it is extraordinarily unlikely for the IM event be a super-spreader, but can the event facilitate spread of COVID in totality of off-course and on-course interactions by virtue of having taken place? I think possible to probable.
As I have stated in the other thread, I am generally not concerned about the effects of COVID on athletes, who are likely to have only mild to moderate symptoms (although severe manifestations have been observed in some). But rather athletes can be vectors for transmission, even while asymptomatic, to vulnerable members of society for whom this disease can be deadly. Never before has the fate of vulnerable people been so much at the mercy of behaviors of others. Sorry for the length of these responses, I have spent way more time than i should, but if even one serious outcome can be averted it would have been worth it.
Also, given micro- and macro-population trends in COVID-19, impact of the IM event is likely to be highly confounded and difficult to interpret--and likely background trends in Maricopa County unfavorable for the IM event. I agree with you the IM organization would be well-served by getting information from every volunteer and participant 2-3 weeks after the event for signs an symptoms of COVID to demonstrate no unfavorable impact on public health.
I love triathlon, even though I am so mediocre at it. And I am as eager as anyone to start racing again!
And I want to see the sport thrive, as well as see the Ironman Organization flourish.
Poor timing of elective national/international events, categorically deemed higher risk by the CDC, during a pandemic surge at a period critical for public health may tarnish the sport.
Take care, and wishing everyone well.