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Arnold Sports Festival Statement On Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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By Domenic Mauro

Contest Coverage Sponsored by BSN

On the heels of the news that FIBO is postponed to a later date due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) threat, it prompted me to think about the upcoming Arnold Sports Festival and 1. What have the organizers of the event done to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus? and 2. What precautions do we personally take not to contract and further spread the virus while we are traveling to and from the event? 

I contacted my friends over at the Arnold Sport Festival offices and they issued this statement to me:

February 28, 2020

Statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The 2020 Arnold Sports Festival will be held March 5-8 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Ohio Expo Center and several other venues in Columbus, Ohio. The event will feature 22,000 athletes competing in more than 85 sports and events.

The Arnold Sports Festival does not anticipate any change in schedule due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) but through an abundance of caution is working with all constituents to take the below actions.

* The Arnold Sports Festival is working with our partners at the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Ohio Expo Center and Mount Carmel Health System to provide on-site information and best practices so that our athletes and attendees can take all necessary precautions.

* The Arnold Sports Festival has posted a link on our website at www.arnoldsportsfestival.com/usa to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov with information about the virus in terms of symptoms, prevention and treatment, and other frequently asked questions. All attendees, athletes and others are encouraged to visit the CDC website.

* The Arnold Medical Team, directed by Mount Carmel Health System, will screen all athletes at check-in during the 2020 Arnold Sports Festival.

* The Greater Columbus Convention Center will have hand sanitizers placed within 20 feet of each other throughout the center during the event. In addition, there will be four (4) EMT Locations and a First Aid room available to all.

* Ohio Department of Health representatives encourage all to practice good hygiene through handwashing, coughing into your elbow, staying home if you are sick, etc.

The Arnold Sports Festival and our partners will continue to monitor the situation in partnership with health professionals and will take further steps as necessary.

As you can see, the Arnold Sports Festival does not anticipate any change in schedule due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) but through an abundance of caution, is working with all constituents to take action in preparing any precautions necessary to identify any infected persons and help prevent the spread of the virus.

As we take a look at what precautions we personally need to take not to contract and further spread the virus while we are traveling to and from the event, let’s better understand what the Coronavirus is.

What Is The Coronavirus?

According to the U.S.A. CDC (Centers For Disease Control and Preventions) it’s a respiratory disease caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and which has now been detected in 50 locations internationally, including cases in the United States and Canada. On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the official name of the illness that is causing the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak. The illness is now called COVID-19. “COVI” for coronavirus, “D” for “disease,” and “19” for the year when it was identified. The virus itself is now called SARS-CoV-2.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people (this is termed a “spillover event”)and then spread between people. Early on, many of the patients in the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. Later, a growing number of patients reportedly did not have exposure to animal markets, indicating person-to-person spread. One theory of how it originated in humans is that it was transmitted from bats to humans through an intermediate host.

What makes the virus so potent is the simple fact that before it was discovered in Wuhan, China, nothing was known about it nor was it detected in humans. Considering it was unknown, there were no guidelines set in place to counter act the affects or minimize the spread of Covid-19. Hence no vaccine or medical protocols. 

How Covid-19 Spreads

According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a new disease and there is more to learn about how it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, and to what extent it may spread. Here are some possible ways it may spread:

Person-To-Person Spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Spread From Contact With Infected Surfaces Or Objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Can Someone Spread The Virus Without Being Sick?

People are thought to be most contagious when they are most symptomatic (the sickest). Some spread might be possible before people show symptoms; there have been reports of this occurring with this new coronavirus, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.


Patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of

  • fever 
  • cough 
  • shortness of breath


There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

Myth vs Fact

Johns Hopkins Medicine has considerable expertise in the field of infectious diseases and experience with infection control of viruses like the new coronavirus. Here are some myths vs facts according to Johns Hopkins Medicine:

MYTH: A vaccine to cure COVID-19 is available.

FACT: There is no vaccine for the new coronavirus right now. Scientists have already begun working on one, but developing a vaccine that is safe and effective in human beings will take many months.

MYTH: You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by swallowing or gargling with bleach, taking acetic acid or steroids, or using essential oils, salt water, ethanol or other substances.

FACT: None of these recommendations protect you from getting COVID-19, and some of these practices may be dangerous. The best ways to protect yourself from this coronavirus (and other viruses) include:

  • Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly, using soap and hot water.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, sneezing or coughing.

In addition, avoid spreading your own germs by coughing into the crook of your elbow and staying home when you are sick.

MYTH: The new coronavirus was deliberately created or released by people.

FACT: Viruses can change over time. Occasionally, a disease outbreak happens when a virus that is common in an animal such as a pig, bat or bird undergoes changes and passes to humans. This is likely how the new coronavirus came to be.

MYTH: People are dying from COVID-19 in many countries.

FACT: As of Feb. 28, 2020, 2,791 people in China have died from COVID-19, as well as 80 people in other countries. Medical authorities will confirm any fatalities in other areas.

MYTH: Ordering or buying products shipped from China will make a person sick.

FACT: Researchers are studying the new coronavirus to learn more about how it infects people. As of this writing, scientists note that most viruses like this one do not stay alive for very long on surfaces, so it is not likely you would get COVID-19 from a package that was in transit for days or weeks. The illness is most likely transmitted by droplets from an infected person’s sneeze or cough, but more information is emerging daily.

MYTH: A face mask will protect you from COVID-19.

FACT: Certain models of professional, tight-fitting respirators (such as the N95) can protect health care workers as they care for infected patients. But for the general public, the benefit of wearing lightweight disposable surgical masks is not clear. Experts say they may provide some protection from large drops, sprays or splashes, but because they don’t fit tightly, they may allow tiny infected droplets to get into the nose, mouth or eyes. Also, people with the virus on their hands who touch their face under a mask might become infected. People with a respiratory illness can wear these masks to lessen their chance of infecting others.

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