Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update from Delaware Judo & Ju-Jitsu Association
I have been carefully following the ever-increasing news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and trying to gauge its possible impact on our sport and martial art in the New Castle County area. To this end, I have been on-line researching on what the leaders in the judo governing body are advising. They all are in contact with experts in the medical, infectious disease and public health.
My intention is to understand how to take a position that would be in the best interest of our members without overreacting. I understand the perspective that some believe that the situation and risk to COVID-19 in Delaware is not as scary as other parts of the US or the world and that cancelling opportunities to practice or even compete is not necessary. However, I believe that it is important for our community to look out for one another and for us to do what is best for our dojo and the New Castle County Adult Center.
Other Judo organizations have offered their recommendation and opinion on whether martial arts schools should continue training as scheduled. They inform us that COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus and its spread will probably get worse before it gets better, that the risk is great. By all accounts, experts are indicating that the COVID-19 death rate is likely to be 20 – 35 times greater than flu. According to the CDC the “death rate of influenza for the 2018-2019 Flu season was 34, 200 in the US”.
Now admittedly most COVID-19 deaths are occurring in people with bad or compromised health conditions. The older you are the more likely you are to die due to COVID-19. At the other end of the spectrum, it is very possible that infected children and those who are fit and healthy may not show any signs of having the virus at all and not be aware that they are potential vector transmitters of the virus.
By its nature, our dojo location is a gathering of people coming from different neighborhoods of Delaware and surrounding counties, all sitting, socializing and mingling in proximity. While, our participants are defying best personal distance practices to fight in very close contact. This situation can only be viewed as potential for increasing the risk of spreading COVID-19.
It only takes one (1) person who due to the 5-day incubation time may not be aware of their infection and unknowingly passes it to many other people including an at-risk member of their family.
While there are personal hygiene behaviors and potentially other restrictive strategies, used at our site, they are not enough and cannot guarantee protection from COVID-19, even with the perception of a low risk of infection. The only safe way to avoid being infected by the virus is to avoid the places where it can be passed on. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updates its Coronavirus/COVID-19 website daily, giving the most authoritative and up-to-date information available for communities, businesses and schools, healthcare professionals, and others. Please click on the link below to the CDC’s COVID-19 webpage. DO IT FREQUENTLY, since the Coronavirus situation changes almost daily. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html
The question to myself is whether the safety and protection of our members, their families, our staff at the New Castle County Adult Center is more important than the risk of gathering and training and the potential loss to our revenue.
These are the reasons why, after detailed and thoughtful discussion, consultation with those knowledgeable in infectious disease and public health, I have decided that we should in good conscious CANCEL training at DJJA and reschedule for a later date when the risks to health and safety are less.
This decision is not one made in panic because there is risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, rather it is one of precaution because we cannot guarantee there is no risk. To do otherwise, given the situation and the concerns being expressed locally and nationally, would be irresponsible. Credit will be given to all students for the two (2) week period that we are closed. I will keep everyone posted on the latest dojo news and it’s reopening.
Alexander Velazquez Sensei,
Delaware Judo & Ju-Jitsu Association