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Cricket and COVID-19: Don't be like Vaughan, don't be like Guelphites

Radio presenter Jonathan Agnew with Michael Vaughan

Former England captain Michel Vaughan's tweet over the Novel Coronavirus outbreak has divided opinion.


The City of Guelph, the seat of Wellington County, is located on the Speed River in south central Ontario, 96 km west of Toronto and 28 km east of Kitchener-Waterloo. Around 250 people are currently affected by the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus in Canada, which is still way less that the neighbouring US, were a total of 1,629 COVID-19 cases have been detected while 41 people have already lost their lives.


“Good morning and don’t kill us,” with those words, manager Armando Gumbs opened the doors of the Guelph Costco store in Guelph at 9:30 a.m. on Friday for approximately 500 customers who had been waiting in line outside.


This was no annual sale or a new model of One Plus cellphone being launched. The customers had their eyes set on just one thing: toilet paper. Hand sanitisers had already been sold out at the store the day before, and toilet paper was now flying off the shelves like hot cakes.



Around the same time earlier in March, a tweet from Former England captain Michel Vaughan over the Novel Coronavirus outbreak divided opinion on the social network. "Isn't it just Flu!!!!! #JustAsking", Michael Vaughan asked on Twitter.


But do the five exclamation marks really suggest it being a polite enquiry? Read between the lines and the tweet is yelling: "C'mon, it's no big deal. Get on with it," in Vaughan's thick Yorkshire accent.


In his defence, that may be a sportsman speaking who, over the years, be it a strained muscle or a sprained ankle, has been told to not be a sissy and get on with it. 


While aches and pains, sore throat, fever may feel similar to those suffering from their symptoms, the novel coronavirus is not the same as the seasonal flu. The mortality rate in those affected by COVID-19 is about 20 times higher than for the seasonal flu lineages currently in circulation.


Plus, each COVID-19 sufferer infects between two to three others. That's a reproduction rate up to twice as high as seasonal flu, which typically infects 1.3 new people for each patient. To add to that, there is no vaccine to treat the ailment and is not expected to be in circulation anytime before at least six months.


Hence, it by no means warrants a lax approach.


But, as much as Vaughan is at fault of making light of a very serious issue, the resident of Guelph and millions like them across the globe are equally culpable.


“I don’t understand the concept of toilet paper. I can understand hand soap, hand sanitizer, or food or whatever, but the toilet paper process?” said Gumbs, the manager of the Guelph Costco store. “In Canada, we’re very relaxed, it’s not like the states. But don’t take anything for granted because you never know what could hit you at the same time.”


The same theory applies to the millions of crickets fans around the world as well, who are too ruffled by the cancellation of the sporting fixtures. These are the sport tragics, who for the love of God, can not come to terms with why their beloved sport is having to bear the brunt of a virus.


At the other end of the spectrum are the panicked lot, who want all events, means of transportation, movie theatres, offices and schools to be shutdown till normalcy returns.


The best route at the given time for the cricket fans and everyone else is to be level headed. Neither bath in sanitisers and cover yourself in an astronaut's costume, nor go around the countryside tasting all available delicacies of the roadside vendors and shaking hands with the every next person you meet.


 Don't be like Vaughan. Neither be like Guelphites.


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