Hanging, not flattening the curve

Sean Doolittle has it right: to counteract COVID-19, we’ve done little. Multiple media accounts are carrying the remarks of the Nationals’ reliever about the pandemic, and I think he spells out its perils very well.

The 2020 uniform

Doolittle noted that the coronavirus outbreak is worse now than it was when the baseball season was put on hold in March. Since then?

“We haven’t done any of the things that other countries have done to bring sports back,” he said. “Sports are like the reward of a functional society, and we’re trying to just bring it back, even though we’ve taken none of the steps to flatten the curve, whatever you want to say. We did flatten the curve for a little bit, but we didn’t use that time to do anything productive. We just opened back up for Memorial Day. We decided we’re done with it.”

In a refreshingly honest way, Doolittle admitted he’s not a public expert but urged fans to do what the experts recommend: wear a mask, practice social distancing and frequently wash our hands.

I follow that advice closely, but too many Americans do not. Even if they did, I’d still not be optimistic we’ll have a baseball season with this lethal virus on the loose. Each day brings more teams reporting COVID cases while many players either opt out of playing this year or continue to weigh the risks and rewards.

While certain states have responded effectively, I’d call our national response to the pandemic a swing and a miss. But that gives too much credit. As this slow-moving but deadly eephus pitch approached the plate, we just stood there with the bat on our shoulder.

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