FIM Asia organized last week “Virus Crisis 2020 and its Medical Implications to Motorsports” webinar. The webinar was part of the FIM Asia Cares program that was launched during the virus crisis. The activities of the program are in line with FIM Asia corporate social responsibility of awareness.
In the beginning of the lockdown the FIM Asia Cares program also distributed different antivirus testing kits and antivirus products to members of the FIM Family stakeholders and all FIM Asia member federations.
“Virus Crisis 2020 and its Medical Implications to Motorsports” webinar´s speaker was FIM Medical Director, Doctor David McManus and it was organized for awareness and education, due to the uncertainty of the future directions and status of the current motorcycle sports activities.
The webinar was attended by over 120 participants of different stakeholders and it was also streamed live in FIM Asia Facebook with another 252 people watching.
FIM Asia is planning to organize more educational webinars as part of its FIM Asia Cares program in line with the current status and way of life which requires people to stay at home during the pandemic.
FIM Asia President Stephan Carapiet commented:
“We want to thank Doctor David McManus for enlightening us about the pandemic matter and the virus implications towards our motorcycle sports scenarios. The main analysis of the webinar aroused in questions submitted that we need protocol guidelines and new regulations for virus behavior implications towards our sports. With this Dr. McManus is at the moment in the research phase. Different scenarios were also discussed for our future races and up to now things are up in the air as weekly the different scenarios change. Latest development of the vaccine was discussed and possibility of events without spectators. It was also determined that each local government has different policies of crowd gathering and quarantine regulations which also are relative to the hindrance of us hosting our sporting events. The complications of physical distancing and international air travel also contributes to these challenges.”
David McManus answers questions about the pandemic
FIM Asia organized last week “Virus Crisis 2020 and its Medical Implications to Motorsports” webinar with FIM Medical Director, Doctor David McManus. Almost 400 viewers took part in the webinar asking questions about the pandemic and the efforts that should be done when returning back in action. Here are the key points of the webinar.
The webinar presentation outlined the implications of the coronavirus for our sport and for the resumption of racing. It provided an introduction and background to the current pandemic, information on the symptoms and impact of the illness, and detailed information regarding prevention and management thus leading to informed consideration of the implications and considerations for our sport. This was followed by an interactive session of comments, questions and answers.
An evidence-based description of the novel coronavirus otherwise known as Sars-Cov-2 virus, the symptoms and severity of the illness known as Covid-19 was provided with details of risk factors, clinical progression and timeline of the illness. It was noted that 70-80% of cases are mild but that 10-15% can be severe requiring hospital admission.
- Key points for everyone to protect themselves of the virus.
Key measures for prevention were described in detail with illustrative infographics. These included;
- Hand Hygiene measures:in particular Hand Hygiene and the importance of frequent handwashing using soap and warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds each time and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing a minimum of 60% or ideally 70% alcohol.
- Respiratory Etiquettewhen coughing and sneezing using the slogan “catch it, bin it, kill it”. This describes the importance of using a disposable tissue to catch the virus when coughing or sneezing, then disposing of it safely followed by hand washing or the use of a hand sanitizer. If no tissue is available, then you should cough into the inside of your elbow placed in front of your face.
- General hygienemeasures before eating and, in particular, after using the toilet is also essential.
- Avoid touching your face.The virus enters the human body through the mouth, nose and eyes. It is therefore essential that in addition to the hygiene measures that you avoid touching your face with your hands.
- Social isolation & distancingis a vital element of reducing the number of cases and to avoid health services from being overwhelmed. This was graphically illustrated compared to if no measures were taken. This is commonly referred to as “flattening the curve” which has been shown to be extremely effective in reducing the number of cases and these measures have been implemented to varying degrees throughout the world. This includes;
- Prohibiting mass gatherings including sports events.
- Avoiding physical contact when greeting other people. Do not shake hands but use a smile nod or bow.
- Shielding elderly and vulnerable people
- Isolation at home for up to 14 days if you have any symptoms and try to minimize contact with other members of your household as much as possible.
- Social Distancing. It is estimated that a person with the virus can infect another 2-3 other people in the next 5 days. This will result over 400 people being infected in the following 30 days. If social contact is reduced by 50% this number falls to 15 people after 30 days. If social contact can be reduced by 75% the number infected by one person after 30 days is reduced to only 2-3 people.
- Personal Protective Equipment including use of Face Masks. There are varying degrees of personal protective equipment (PPE). For example, in healthcare settings disposable single use face masks, gloves and aprons are used. When caring for those with the infection in hospital this also includes eye protection with visors as well as gloves, full body gowns and respirator and filter masks. However, for most people personal protective equipment is not necessary unless caring for an ill person.
- Wearing plastic or rubber gloves in public is not felt to be effective in preventing the coronavirus infection as the virus can still be picked up from touching contaminated surfaces and this can be transmitted by the gloves and infect you if you touch your face. Handwashing your bare hands offers more protection than wearing gloves.
- Face masks.
- When to use a mask. The evidence for the use of face masks outside healthcare settings is not strong at present but is constantly being monitored and the advice on their use updated. The current WHO guidance on when and how to use a face mask was presented. It suggests that a face mask should only be used if you are coughing or sneezing to protect others or if it is not possible to socially distance from others, for example, when using public transport or possibly in offices or other workplaces. If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19.
However, further evidence on the effectiveness of face masks is emerging and in some countries the use of masks in public or on public transport is mandatory. It is important that you follow your government’s advice and comply with their regulations.
How to use a mask: If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly. Masks are only effective when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water and when they fit properly. There must be no gaps between your face and the mask which must also cover your nose to the bridge of the nose. You must avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water. Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks. To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin and then clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- Estimation of the next steps/phases.
It is known from previous epidemics and pandemics there is a risk of a subsequent second and even possibly a third peak in cases during the subsequent months following the initial surge in cases of the infection. These subsequent peaks can be greater than the first. It is therefore essential that the measures that are currently in place are removed gradually in a planned and controlled way to avoid or reduce any subsequent peaks thus reducing the number of further cases of infection and the need to reintroduce and prolong the restrictions.
Reducing the initial peak by introducing the current restrictions to avoid exceeding the capacity of the healthcare systems to cope and avoid them being overwhelmed and reduce the number of deaths from the infection also has the effect of prolonging the time the virus circulating in the population for potentially many months. At present the length or quantum of any second peak is not known but in order to reduce its impact it is being closely monitored and managed through:
- Controlled lifting of restrictions
- Widespread community testing for the virus
- Case identification, Contact tracing and Quarantine
- Research into potential treatments
- The development of vaccines
Currently there is no definitive evidence of prolonged immunity or seasonal variation and it is therefore possible that the virus will continue to circulate, albeit at a lower prevalence, for many months. Consequently, it is essential that this is considered in preparation for any return to normal life and any return to sporting activities.
- You mentioned that sport plays an important role after the lockdown, please explain a bit more.
- Adverse Effects of Social Isolation & importance of Sport
While social isolation and distancing is extremely important and effective it is also very restrictive and disruptive to normal life. It is also difficult to maintain in the longer term. There are also potentially significant adverse impacts of this including on physical health, mental health and economic impacts.
Sport is a key factor in improving both physical and mental well-being as well as being of considerable economic benefit. It is therefore important to try to remain physically and mentally active during social isolation and to maintain social connections when social distancing and isolating. This can be achieved virtually by using, for example, modern telecommunications. Many resources are available on-line regarding coping with stress during the “lockdown” including from the World Health Organization and other government health agencies as well as exercise at home programs.
While we all want to return to normal life and our sporting activities as soon as possible it is essential that this is done in a planned way and only when safe to do so in accordance with national government guidelines and regulations to avoid a further surge in cases of Covid-19.
- Implications & Considerations for Return to Sporting Activities
It is essential that in preparing for a return to sport activities that relevant national and international guidance and government requirements are considered and respected. This includes but is not limited to travel restrictions, requirements for the quarantine of travellers, surveillance, monitoring and screening requirements, the potential mandatory use of face masks as well as requirements for social distancing etc. Liaison with relevant national and local governments and health services is essential.
Sports event organizers and sports federations should also consider the facilities available at the event venue, for example, for medical services, hand hygiene, bottled water, waste disposal, disinfection and social isolation. Guidance is available from a variety of sources including the World Health Organization (Considerations for sports federations/sports event organizers when planning mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19: interim guidance) and other government Centres for Disease Control and Public Health Agencies.
- How would you describe the current situation overall.
While most cases are mild and many more recover than develop a serious illness there have been, at present, over 2 million cases of Covid-19 and 250 thousand deaths reported globally.
However, the precautions and measures in place at an individual, national and global level are succeeding in reducing the number and rate of new cases, hospital admissions and deaths. This is allowing some countries to commence easing their restrictions in a planned and controlled way.
It is also important to remember that the virus will continue to circulate for many months until effective treatments and vaccinations are developed and will be controlled through surveillance and monitoring.
It is therefore vital that we all continue to pay attention to hygiene and social measures and to participate in monitoring programs.
Protecting our health and safety is paramount and through this we can hopefully return to our sporting activity as soon as is safely possible but this may still take some time.
In the meantime it is important we and our families, friends and communities take care, stay safe and remain strong.
- Questions from the audience
Most questions were in relation to the development of guidelines and protocols to inform the resumption of our sport. These included, for example;
- Any chance to share post pandemic FIM plans (examples) for marshals?
Suggestion - it will be good to develop guidance/protocols for FMNs prior organizing any motorsport events (post pandemic) and they need to comply to these protocols including the local authority/country requirement.
The sharing of protocols in the post Covid era is a good suggestion.
Answers to the following questions can be found from below.
- What is the safest way to organize an international event 6 months from now, considering all protective measures?
- How is the Social Distancing feasibility is or can be considered?
- International events involve extensive travel from many different countries. Do you therefore expect that national events will be able to resume sooner?
- David, Thank you again for the presentation and replies. Please let us know if there is any taskforce to review post pandemic plan for motorsport, I am willing to contribute. Cheers and take care.
- Could participants undergo antibody/serum testing 2 weeks prior to their event and have that participant recorded as low probability of becoming ill or spreading disease.
- Does this COVID-19 situation bring us in thinking of increasing or adding the Medical subspecialty in motorsports too?
- From what we read and hear, it seems that motorcycle can be recognized as an ideal form of transport in the after COVID-19 era. Would you agree?
- If the situation is getting better, and will release the lock down, then we will organize the motorcycle racing event in the next few months (national level). Do you have any advice about the protocol for Medical Safety Check List & Protocols?
- Would Injury to rider during our event requiring hospitalization be a big concern as the injury will reduce his immunity? Will we be compromising on rider safety?
The FIM CMI would be very happy to lead on the development of guidelines and protocols to facilitate the resumption of our sport and to advise and inform any future requirements. We are very happy to receive any information and support from our FMNs, governments and other sport federations as offered during the webinar.
The FIM continues to monitor the global situation very closely and will move to resume our sport only when it is safe and appropriate to do so. We will develop and produce guidelines, protocols and information in due course. We are conscious that the risk from the virus is still high at the current time and it is important that we continue to respect the requirements, restrictions of the governments in our own countries and those in which events will take place.