Setting aside any political or personal feelings one might have about the Coronavirus, one thing that is undeniable at this point, is that the precautions taken to slow or stop its spread are beginning to impact our daily lives.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
Setting aside any political or personal feelings one might have about the Coronavirus, one thing that is undeniable at this point, is that the precautions taken to slow or stop its spread are beginning to impact our daily lives.  
Since you’re reading this in the sports section, let’s focus on the impact the Coronavirus has already and will have impacted sports on the national, state and local level.
What was first detected or at least became a major problem in Wuhan, China, has now spread to Europe with the country of Italy currently experiencing a viral spread and a tremendous taxing of their medical resources. Things are deemed to be so bad in Italy that essentially everything with the exception of food shops and pharmacies have been ordered closed.
On Wednesday, March 11, Dr. Tedros Adhonam Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, officially declared the Coronavirus to be a global pandemic. By definition, a global pandemic is “a disease epidemic that has spread across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or worldwide.”
On Wednesday night, President Trump took to the Oval Office and addressed the country on the United States’ response to the new global pandemic. On the same day, news was coming from the World Health Organization and the White House, the sports world was abuzz with major announcements related to the Coronavirus.
In the way of national news, there came word that celebrity Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for the Coronavirus while in Australia and are currently being observed and treated.  
In the sports world, it was announced that NBA superstar Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz had tested positive for the disease, prompting the NBA to suspend the balance of its season. It was then later learned that Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell had also tested positive.
It has also now been announced that the NHL has suspended all games, Major League Baseball is expected to announce the suspension of Spring Training and Nascar has announced it will be running its upcoming races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway as planned but without fans in attendance.
In the way of college news, a multitude of developments have incurred in recent days. The Ivy League cancelled their basketball post-season tournament, and then several other leagues followed suit including the AAC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, Atlantic 10, and SEC.  
Also, the NCAA announced that the March Madness national basketball tournament would go on as scheduled but with major changes to who would be allowed to attend the events.  Specifically, the NCAA announced that the tournament contests would be closed to the general public with no fans in attendance, other than essential personnel and family members of players. Back to the Ivy League, they’ve actually already announced the cancellation of all spring sports.
With respect to the NCAA and Mountain State sports, athletic director Shane Lyons announced that the West Virginia Department of Interscholastic Athletics has announced the cancellation of all athletic events through March 22. Other colleges and universities in West Virginia have followed suit.
Locally and regionally, the effects have been felt greatly at the high school level with respect to the state tournaments in neighboring Virginia, Maryland and now West Virginia. Southern Garrett for example, who had both their boys and girls teams competing in the basketball state tournament, were initially told the games would go on as planned but with major modifications to attendance.  
Specifically, the directive from the MPSSAA specified that the tournament games would be closed to the public and media, with only parents and guardians allowed in attendance. That all changed on Thursday as the MPSSAA ultimately postponed until further notice.  The Virginia High School League also began with a plan to limit fans and then ultimately has postponed its tournament finals set for today and Saturday as well.
In addition to the state tournaments in Maryland, Virginia and other states being cancelled, there came word locally on Thursday, the day it was to begin, that the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament, held annually at Frostburg State University, was cancelled. All this with all eight teams already in attendance in Allegany County. According to tournament organizer, this will likely result in a projected loss of around $ 25,000 that is annually raised through the tournament, money that goes to the developmentally disabled in the region.
Then came word on Thursday, literally in the middle of tournament play, that at the conclusion of the game currently being played, the WVSSAC’s girls’ basketball tournament, would be suspended, as was next week’s scheduled boys’ state basketball tournament. The announcement came via a press conference by Gov. Jim Justice, in conjunction with the MPSSAA.
Now comes the biggest impact to Mineral County sports. As part of Gov. Justice and the WVSSAC decision related to the suspension of the state basketball tournaments, it was directed that the regional co-finals currently scheduled also be suspended. Keyser was slated to host North Marion on Thursday at 7 p.m. for a trip to the state tournament; Frankfort was slated to travel to Fairmont Senior Thursday at 7 p.m. for a trip to the state tournament as well.  Those games did not happen.
Again, despite any political or personal thoughts people might have about the Cornonavirus and the response to it, it has been made clear that there will in fact be serious disruptions to daily life both national and worldwide. While there are certainly more important things in life than sports, in times as potentially serious as these, safety concerns will take precedent.
Is it seriously disappointing? Absolutely. Certainly, on the local level Keyser and Frankfort want a shot to play the game and to advance to the state tournament that actually may or may not happen at this point.  The loss of the Alhambra Catholic Invitation Tournament locally is a blow as well.  In times like these, all we can do is watch, wait, and hope for the best.