2022 marks the beginning of the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic. I recall flying back from Singapore in December 2019 and hearing people in Singapore and South Korea speaking about a virus that was spreading in China. Like the rest of the world, I have a better appreciation that low-probability, high-consequence risks can become very real and highly disruptive. IIFX has been following the spread of the disease and all of its mutations since early 2020. While there is so much yet to be written about the pandemic and its implications for our industry, we have reflected on its progression and share some of the highlights here…
Something novel emerges…
Wuhan Municipal Health Commission in the Peoples Republic of China reports an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan, China, later determined to be a novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
The Pandemic begins. Millions infected and thousands dead. Government and business restrictions imposed.
Cancelation of mass gatherings, including the sports and entertainment industry events.
Limited capacity crowds, mask mandates, and social distancing become the new norm.
Vaccines approved and deployed.
First cases outside the Peoples Republic of China appeared in Thailand
First case of COVID-19 reported in the USA
World Health Organization (WHO) confirms human-to-human transmission of COVID-19
USA joins other nations in restricting travel from China
WHO issues a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) about COVID-19
US Travel Ban blocking travel from China begins
16 confirmed cases in the USA (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/previouscases.html)
NBA and MLB pause their seasons; NCAA cancels Division I basketball tournaments (1,629 confirmed cases)
NHL pauses season (2,234 confirmed cases)
NASCAR delays start of their season (4,226 confirmed cases)
Major League Soccer and all intercollegiate sports are halted (15, 219 confirmed cases)
All mass gatherings in US are halted (103,321 confirmed cases)
Wimbledon is canceled for the first time since 1945 (World War II)
CDC recommends masks for all people over the age of 2; airlines require passengers to wear masks in flight.
More than 1 million confirmed cases in the USA
NBA Tournament Bubble at Walt Disney World in Bay Lake, Florida (USA) begins with Exhibition Scrimmages featuring 22 teams. Zero fans attending.
MLB opening day for the shortest season in the league for over 150 years.
Capacity limits for NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB vary from zero to 20%
U.S Open serves for the first time without fans
CDC strongly recommends mask use. Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson report good news about their vaccines’ efficacy.
NBA Tournament Bubble at Walt Disney World in Bay Lake, Florida (USA) ends with NBA Finals. Zero fans attending.
November and December
Covid Vaccines receive FDA Emergency Use Authorization – vaccinations begin in the USA
Reopening of Sports and Entertainment venues and return of sporting events. Vaccinations, therapeutics, and new treatments. Delta and Omicron variants emerge.
Presidential Executive Order requires masks be worn at all times in airports, most airplanes, intercity buses, and on trains
Australian Open starts after a three-week delay due to the country’s strict COVID policy
NFL Super Bowl capacity limited to 22,000 fans
CDC relaxes masking recommendation for fully vaccinated people; states begin to lift mask mandates
Texas Rangers Opening MLB Game at Globe Life Field is at Full Capacity
CDC says vaccinated people do not need to wear masks in most places
Covid infection rates in the United Kingdom, United States, and other nations fall due to increasing vaccination rates
After being delayed for a year, the Euros 2020 kicked off for the month-long tournament
Wimbledon announces a return of full capacity crowds for the semi-final and final matches during the tournament. This is the first full-capacity sporting event in the United Kingdom since 2019.
Delta Variant becomes a WHO Variant of Concern; CDC issues new guidance. 57.9% of US adults “fully” vaccinated
23 July – 8 August
2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan with limited crowds
Intercollegiate football games open to capacity crowds; federal government extends mask mandate
• Delta Variant peaks in the USA
• Broadway and New York theater district opens fully
• President Biden announces 6-point plan to halt spread of Delta variant and increase vaccination rates in the USA
• President announces COVID-19 plan that includes mandatory vaccination for businesses with 100 or more employees
• Omicron Variant discovered and becomes a variant of concern because it is highly transmissible and may evade protections afforded by vaccines.
Owners “lock out” Major League Baseball players after the expiration of their Collective Bargaining Agreement on 1 December 2021. This is the first lock out since the 1994-1995 season.
NHL begins Holiday Break two days early because of Omicron; play will resume on 27 December 2021
• NFL changes COVID-19 protocols with new testing and return-to-play rules
• NBA announces intent to play all matches on Christmas Day
CDC reduces COVID-19 quarantine from 10 days to five
Sports and Entertainment Events Canceled or Postponed in 2021
[POSTPONED] Special Olympics World Winter Games postponed to 22-28 January 2022
[POSTPONED] Arafura Games in Darwin, Australia postponed to 2023
[POSTPONED] World Masters Games in Kansai, Japan postponed to May 2022
[POSTPONED] Invictus Games postponed until 2023
[POSTPONED] World Games in Birmingham, Alabama (USA) postponed until 2022
[POSTPONED] World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan postponed until 2022
[POSTPONED] World Police and Fire Games in Rotterdam, South Holland, Netherlands postponed to July 2022
[POSTPONED] Islamic Solidarity Games in Konya, Turkey postponed to 2022
[POSTPONED] Women’s Rugby World Cup in New Zealand postponed to 2022
[CANCELLED] World Rowing Championships in Shanghai, China
[POSTPONED] Rugby League World Cup in England postponed to November 2022
[POSTPONED] South-East Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam postponed to 2022
[CANCELLED] Winter Universiade in Lucerne, Switzerland
Omicron wave building around the world; highly virulent and may be less deadly than Alpha or Delta variants. Does its emergence signal the beginning of the end of the pandemic?
Is this the last year of the pandemic?