Will the Australian Open be safe? Can the event be realistically held?
With the huge increases in Omicron cases in Australia, let’s have a look at the measures taken by the Australian Open organizers to address transmission, both for athletes and spectators. This brief analysis concludes that, unless quiete a few athletes are already immune thanks to a previous disease, like for example Nadal is, it may be hard for the event to be realistically held, as most players will likely get Omicron during the 2 weeks of the event – from January 17 to January 30.
For updates: check: Djokovidelirum Hits Australia
A quick look at the website of the Australian Open shows that the authorities rely solely on vaccination and on masks to claim the event will be safe. There are no requirements of negative tests, nor checking of symptoms such as temperature, even if …
“Tennis Australia may withdraw your right to attend the Australian Open and access to Melbourne Park if you” … “present to Melbourne Park showing symptoms of COVID-19, including but not limiting to having a temperature above >37.5⁰C, chills, cough, sore throat and shortness of breath.”
The authorities want to reassure the public it will be a safe event, but with the rapidly spreading Omicron, could that really be the case?
As it has been witnessed in several countries now, those who are fully vaccinated tend to even get more infected with Omicron than the non-vaccinated people, with “negative vaccine efficacy” having already been observed.
So can the combination of vaccination and masks be expected to ensure there won’t be any spread / outbreaks at the event? Absolutely not!
In fact, it can be expected that there will be many outbreaks, day after day, and that many of the people attending the event, even if fully vaccinated, will get infected with many getting (mildly) sick.
Does that make it an unsafe event? Not really, at least as long as only Omicron is spreading, as it is mostly mild and seems to act as a life-attenuated vaccine.
But there will be many surprises among attendees, as many Australians, after 2 years of brainwashing, may not yet fully aware of the lack of protection provided by the injections vis-à-vis the fast spreading Omicron.
What is very likely to happen also is that several players will catch Omicron during the tournament, and even with mild symptoms, it’s certainly enough to compromise athletic performance.
As discussed with Dr. Chetty, among the most common symptoms are headaches and fatigue, which typically last 2 or 3 days. A test is expected to become positive after 1 or 2 days, and this is expected to force the athlete to retire from the competition.
So, a highly relevant question is: who will be left standing after 2 weeks of competition? Probably not many, but a few for sure, especially those who already recovered from Covid.
On that count, Djokovic, and other players having already recovered from Covid, and therefore being naturally immune, will actually stand a higher chance than others to avoid getting COVID/Omicron during the event.
A quick check at the 10 top seeded male players — 1. Novak Djokovic; 2. Daniil Medvedev; 3. Alexander Zverev; 4. Stefanos Tsitsipas; 5 Andrey Rublev; 6. Rafael Nadal; 7. Matteo Barrettini; 8. Casper Ruud; 9. Hubert Hurkacz and 10. Jannik Sinner — indicates that at least half of them already got Covid previously, and therefore are much less likely to get sick from Covid / Omicron during the event.
Yes, paradoxically, it’s natural immunity to COVID-19 which will save the Australian Open from a total fiasco, as the mandated vaccines are totally useless when it comes to preventing getting sick from Omicron.
The tournament will be an interesting experiment to watch! Beyond the unfolding Djokovic fiasco, it seems clear the organizers of this tournament are clearly in for a ride …
See our previous coverage on potentially super-spreader events down under …
See this analysis of the extremely important implications of Omicron: