2021 Worlds are still on | Page 29 | Golden Skate

2021 Worlds are still on

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avatar credit: @miyan5605
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Honest non-snarky question:

Has some official health authority with worldwide jurisdiction ever given an official hard-and-fast definition of "bubble" (in the context of COVID)???

If so, I hope that someone will post a link and bring me up to speed.

I get that some sporting events have required athletes to quarantine on the order of two weeks, whereas figure skaters going to Worlds do not have that requirement.

But in the absence (AFAIK?) of an official definition of "bubble," I do not have a problem with the ISU using the wording of "competition bubble" for Stockholm Worlds.​

I am all for safety.
My question is a question about language. Any usage of "bubble" to me does not inherently mean that a litmus test for quarantining of any particular duration has been met.

(I am not trying to argue with those who are concerned about the plans for Stockholm Worlds.)
 
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Skatesocs

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But in the absence (AFAIK?) of an official definition of "bubble," I do not have a problem with the ISU using the wording of "competition bubble" for Stockholm Worlds.
I don't think anyone is arguing the use of the word "bubble" or its definition, that barely matters. They are concerned about how good the bubble is.
 
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... Plus there's the fact that the ISU has been so utterly slapdash here, like if it was a true bubble, with quarantine and precautions I wouldn't complain. But to call it a bubble when it clearly isn't is rather insulting to our and the skaters competing intelligence.

I don't think anyone is arguing the use of the word "bubble" or its definition, that barely matters. They are concerned about how good the bubble is.

Skatesocs, you must have missed the last two sentences of the post immediately above mine, which I have quoted here.

And it is by no means the first time that I have read these types of comments on GS -- to the effect that what the ISU is referring to as a "bubble" at Stockholm Worlds is not a "real" bubble, and with the implication that the ISU is being misleading/deceptive/shady with its wording.

(Again, I am fine with people having concerns about the safety plans for Stockholm Worlds.
I want the skaters and everyone else there to be safe.)
 
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Skatesocs

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Skatesocs, you must have missed the last sentence of the post immediately above mine, which I have quoted here.
I have not missed it. That's what I meant to clear up. When I read things like "the ISU is calling it a bubble when it's not", I read it as sarcastic, and rhetorical. Not as someone perusing a standard definition of "bubble" and evaluating what the ISU is trying to implement against that standard definition.
 

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I have not missed it. That's what I meant to clear up. When I read things like "the ISU is calling it a bubble when it's not", I read it as sarcastic, and rhetorical. Not as someone perusing a standard definition of "bubble" and evaluating what the ISU is trying to implement against that standard definition.

I do not agree with your reading at all.
So I will continue to silently (or maybe not so silently) roll my eyes whenever I see critical comments about the ISU's usage of the word "bubble."

(I will stress that the reason for my eye-rolling is not opposition to concerns for the safety of those at Stockholm Worlds.)
 

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I don't think anyone is arguing the use of the word "bubble" or its definition, that barely matters. ...

... But I'm sure the ISU will also use the reasoning "We made a bubble, and you can't say we can't call it a bubble. Can you prove it's not a bubble? No? Then it's a bubble. Neener neener!"

A few posts above, you told me that the definition of "bubble" barely matters.

Based on your attempt at mockery, you apparently have changed your mind? :rolleyes:
 

anonymoose_au

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Has some official health authority with worldwide jurisdiction ever given an official hard-and-fast definition of "bubble" (in the context of COVID)???
You have a point there I guess. I haven't seen any clear definition of "bubble" in either a sports context or any other.

But when I think of a "Bubble" I imagine something quite secure. I'm not sure if it's happening now - ironically because she's tested positive for COVID - but apparently the Crown Princess was set to open Worlds. I assume that she wasn't going to isolate for a couple of days before doing this, plus she probably has a couple of security guards so there's one hole in the bubble already.

I understand the judges and skaters will all stay in the hotel, but what about cleaners and other staff? I imagine they go home when not a work, another hole.

And most serious of all, only requiring one day of quarantine for a virus that can take up to two weeks to appear. A massive hole! Even a 5 day quarantine would be better than that - with 2 days to practice - a week in other words.

Also regarding the Olympic spots and Neblehorn, you can only get 1 spot there - although I guess they could change it, but the ISU seems slow.

That means if the US skaters, for example, decided not to go because they felt it was too risky they'd go from a probable 3 spots to 1.

And that also means 1 skater would have to do all four programs at the Olympics if their team was also in Team Event. So they are kind of being forced to go in that sense...
 

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You have a point there I guess. I haven't seen any clear definition of "bubble" in either a sports context or any other.

But when I think of a "Bubble" I imagine something quite secure. ...

Thanks for your reply, anonymoose_au.
I think there are no easy solutions to the many issues at hand.
I can see it both ways -- that a case can be made for cancelling Stockholm Worlds, and that a case also can be made for going forward with the competition.
I acknowledge that other bubbles for other sports have had stricter requirements than the bubble for Stockholm Worlds.
I do want everyone to be safe at Stockholm Worlds, and I hope that everyone there will follow the rules for mask-wearing and social distancing.

Your thoughts lead to more and more questions:
A quarantine of five days + two extra practice days would mean a doubling of hotel costs and meal costs. It is completely understandable that there can be no audiences, but especially with lack of revenue from ticket sales, would it be realistic for the ISU/LOC to cover the extra costs of quarantining for everyone??
If not, should Worlds be cancelled??
If Worlds were cancelled, what would be the basis for Olympic qualifying??
Would *all* OWG spots need to be earned at Nebelhorn?? How would skaters feel about that?? At Nebelhorn, would they compete their new Olympic season programs -- which would have little competition mileage on them?? Or would they compete their 2020-21 season programs, meaning that they could not fully concentrate on training Olympic programs until after Nebelhorn?? (I realize that a small number of OWG spots already will be earned at Nebelhorn anyway, but many more skaters would be in the same boat if all OWG spots needed to be earned there.)
If the Nebelhorn scenario were deemed undesirable, then what?? Would it be fair to use results from 2019 Worlds for Olympic qualifying?? Would it be fair to hold a virtual competition for Olympic qualifying??​

I have no answers to these questions.
(The only super-strong opinion I have is that I would be against using a virtual competition for Olympic qualifying.)

Honest question: Who paid the extra costs of quarantining everyone for Speed Skating Worlds?
 
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anonymoose_au

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Thanks for your reply, anonymoose_au
You're welcome! I'm in two minds about Worlds, on the one hand I'm super excited for Liza Tuk and I'm hoping she does really well! On the other, I'm rather worried since infections are on the rise in Sweden and it seems like they're playing with fire.
I wonder if they'll have like mask Marshall's who will give the eye to anyone who's mask looks like slipping.

Having seen the Russians at the Rabobank event though, I agree they're more likely than not to follow the rules in Stockholm if that's what's required to compete. Admittedly it was a small sample size, Mika K, Tatiana P, T/M and Sergei V, but I have hopes!

Honest question: Who paid the extra costs of quarantining everyone for Speed Skating Worlds?
That's a good question! Is speed skating more profitable than figure skating? I know it's super popular in the Netherlands and South Korea.

I did read somewhere that the ISU hasn't budgeted for any masks, which if true is a pretty big oversight. Although I guess it's hard to get masks in bulk these days, especially if they're the recommended N-95 ones.

Another question, will the skaters get a private shuttle from the airport to the hotel? Or will they need to take a public bus?
 

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... I'm in two minds about Worlds, ...

Me too.

... I did read somewhere that the ISU hasn't budgeted for any masks, which if true is a pretty big oversight. ...

The wording from p. 14 of the Health Regulations for 2021 Worlds:
"Each Event attendee is responsible to have sufficient face masks during the Event. ..."​

I think it is reasonable to expect attendees to bring their own masks and to keep track of them. 😷
I do hope that the ISU/LOC quietly plans to have a relatively small "emergency" stash of extra masks, for what should be rare instances of someone somehow losing all of their masks. (And just in case, that the ISU/LOC has a back-up plan for contactless delivery to the bubble to replenish the emergency stash in what should be the unlikely event that it runs out.)

... Another question, will the skaters get a private shuttle from the airport to the hotel?

Yes, the ISU/LOC will provide shuttle service from Stockholm Airport (and Stockholm Train Station), per p. 17 of the Announcement.

(From what I have seen in past/normal seasons, I believe that it is standard operating procedure for the ISU/LOC to provide airport shuttle service for the JGP series and GP series as well as for ISU Championships.)
 
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brakes

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Sorry for potentially stupid question, but reading this document and learning how strict organizers are in creating that bubble environment, I don't understand what are such drastic on-ice restrictions for?
I mean, these kids will be left without parents, have their meals left at their door, can't take a deep breath of fresh air outside the venue, so why do they have to sit in the masks in K&C for instance? :unsure:
 

Amei

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Sorry for potentially stupid question, but reading this document and learning how strict organizers are in creating that bubble environment, I don't understand what are such drastic on-ice restrictions for?
I mean, these kids will be left without parents, have their meals left at their door, can't take a deep breath of fresh air outside the venue, so why do they have to sit in the masks in K&C for instance? :unsure:

I think the masks are largely for optics to the public given the other measures taken.
 

Li'Kitsu

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Now, these are Worlds, the most important championship of the year for skaters, and last year's Worlds have already been cancelled (more out of ISU's sheer unconcern for safety than out of Canadian excessive concerns by the way). CoViD, with its propension to mutate, is not going to disappear anywhere soon, Western countries have already had two epidemics of different variants, now (while last Autumn/Winter epidemic, against which vaccines may have been efficient, is waning just as Spring's had done) there are several new variants which won't be hindered by today's vaccines (which to this date have become virtually useless), new vaccines will be made but too late for this new variants and inefficient against future variants etc. So, either we try to cope as safely as possible, or we cancel the 95% of sports needing some interpersonal proximity or travel forever.

Uhm, would you mind sharing some sources for that? Last I checked, this isn't the case. Data for the UK variant - which seems to be the one that has spread the most so far - suggest that the current vaccines are barely affected in their efficiency. The other 2 strains - the South African and the Brazilian variants - carry mutations (like E484K) that are of bigger concern, since studies show a reduction in neutralization of these variants via antibodies. However, if this reduction will actual cause the vaccines to be less efficient isn't clear yet. The vaccines being "virtually useless" is, to call it nicely, unlikely, since the antibody neutralization rate is reduced but not zero, and antibodies are not the only immune response elicited by the vaccinations.

Additionally, I don't think your logic here holds. "Viruses mutate anyway so let's not try to prevent mutations/spread of mutations" - no. The likelihood of concerning variants appearing goes up significantly the more cases of infections there are. More infected people -> more virus circulating -> higher chances for a random mutation to happen -> higher chances for a dangerous mutation to appear and spread. The most efficient way to prevent new (more dangerous) variants is to reduce the number of infections. Talking about the mutations the way you do just sounds like an excuse to do nothing, when it's the opposite. Do you think it's a coincidence concerning variants were found in places like the UK, Brazil or the US, pretty well known for high case numbers, and not say Autralia or South Korea?
 

Ella5555

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That's what I'm afraid it is as well, and if so - I find it immensely stupid, unfair and potentially harmful. :slink:
There is no 2-week quarantine before entering the bubble, so there is the potential to test negative and still spread the virus. Not quite sure how wearing a mask is unfair or harmful. Everybody has to do it (so not unfair) and no proven harm in wearing them for regular activities.
 

Amei

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There is no 2-week quarantine before entering the bubble, so there is the potential to test negative and still spread the virus. Not quite sure how wearing a mask is unfair or harmful. Everybody has to do it (so not unfair) and no proven harm in wearing them for regular activities.

Pretty sure sticking on a mask over your mouth after a grueling SP and FS is going to immensely stink especially when studies have shown masks minimally stop transmission, the CDC study i it was like less than 2%
 

1111bm

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...so why do they have to sit in the masks in K&C for instance?
I guess so that 1) droplets, that are potentially containing virus don't accumulate in the air of the KnC area over the course of a competition, assuming there's several affected skaters and 2) so that a skater, who sits down after a potentially contagious competitor who sat in the same area approx. 6 minutes earlier, doesn't breath in too much of that contaminated air.
(unless there was a way to sufficiently disinfect the air in that area or if there was enough air flow to dilute potentially contamined air, but both are not a given)
 

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... have their meals left at their door, can't take a deep breath of fresh air outside the venue ...

The competition bubble will include designated outside areas:

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES
Event participants part of Level 1 and 2 (CB) must not leave the designated CB areas. The Organizers will have designated areas to spend some time outside. Going for a walk or run outside the CB is not permitted.


Although I think(?) masks still will be required in outside areas, it will be possible to get fresh air.​

I have not seen any information one way or the other about meal arrangements during the week at Stockholm Worlds?

FWIW, at Skate America, there were at least two dining rooms within the bubble (with rules for social distancing).
Food also could be picked up there and then eaten in an outside area that was within the bubble or (by choice) in individual hotel rooms.

At Skate America, it was only during the period between arriving initially and receiving a negative PCR test result that meals were left outside the doors of individual hotel rooms.​

... why do they have to sit in the masks in K&C for instance? :unsure:

There is no 2-week quarantine before entering the bubble, so there is the potential to test negative and still spread the virus. Not quite sure how wearing a mask is unfair or harmful. Everybody has to do it (so not unfair) and no proven harm in wearing them for regular activities.

I guess so that 1) droplets, that are potentially containing virus don't accumulate in the air of the KnC area over the course of a competition, assuming there's several affected skaters and 2) so that a skater, who sits down after a potentially contagious competitor who sat in the same area approx. 6 minutes earlier, doesn't breath in too much of that contaminated air.
(unless there was a way to sufficiently disinfect the air in that area or if there was enough air flow to dilute potentially contamined air, but both are not a given)

Adding to the replies from Ella5555 and 1111bm:
When skaters are breathing hard after leaving the ice, the potential to spread virus is greater (if the skater unknowingly is infected).​
 
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Myr

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Pretty sure sticking on a mask over your mouth after a grueling SP and FS is going to immensely stink especially when studies have shown masks minimally stop transmission, the CDC study i it was like less than 2%
Could you please provide a source for that? I just went to the site of the Centre for Disease Control and in their science brief of November 2020 they conclude that masks are effective and should be worn to decrease transmission. (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/masking-science-sars-cov2.html)
 
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