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Coronavirus spread rate: 70+ exposed from one kickboxing event?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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In a March 9th article, 'Coronavirus in boxing and MMA: What sports fans should know,' FightSaga sounded the alarm, suggesting Coronavirus fears would likely temporarily derail boxing; And that's exactly what happened.

And for good reason.

There are no other sports where Coronavirus can be spread more easily than in combat sports such as boxing and MMA,. Fighters sweat, bleed and (unintentionally) spit on each other. As a result, contaminated fighters represent heavy risks to their opponents and endanger referees, cornermen, announcers, ring girls and ring security sharing the same small area.

In fact, all of them would be risks to each other.

Two weeks ago, however, we were unaware how effortlessly Coronavirus could be spread among general spectators.We figured it could happen but were unaware how easily it could wreak havoc among spectators in the stands.

The apparent Coronavirus spread rate in Thailand is exactly what so many feared and why sporting events have been canceled or postponed all over the world.

thailand kickboxing

According to a March 21st AP story, over 72 people in Thailand have contacted the virus from attending 1 to 3 small (by US standards) kickboxing events that took place in early March.

And that number, as of March 21, represents over 20 percent of the cases in the entire country (322). And many, if not most of those infections, can be traced to one of those events.

At that fight card, held on March 6 at Bangkok's indoor Lumpini Stadium and with about 5,000 on-hand, a major-general, a politician, a boxing trainer and a slew of spectators are believed to have contracted Coronavirus.

"The more people who report themselves, the easier it is for us to track down others with the virus before it's too late." said Dr. Thaveesin Visanuyothin, a spokesman for the Public Health Ministry told the AP via FOX 10 Phoenix.

Just a week after the March 6 show, Matthew Deane, a celebrity of sorts in Thailand and fixture in Thai boxing, announced via social media he had Coronavirus.

"This is NOT a joke, for those that have been in close contact with me the last few days please take precautions, " Deane wrote.

"I have the Covid-19 virus(hash)covid 19," said the March 13 message from Matthew Deane, next to a video of him wearing a black surgical mask.

Deane served as the master of ceremonies at the Lumpini Stadium match where he interviewed boxers and promoters, and handed out prizes.

Among the 72 boxing fans who attended one or more of the three Thai boxing events in early March and have tested positive for the virus thus far is a local Bangkok politician who was subsequently quite busy.

According to Thai media, from the time he attended the Lumpini kickboxing card on March 6th to when he tested positive, he went to:

6 weddings,
6 funerals,
3 community meetings (two of them with the elderly),
3 Buddhist ordinations,  
3 fairs, and
4 or more public meetings.

"It is sad that the boxing event has aggravated the situation," said Pinit Polkhan, who shared announcing duties with Matthew Deane and like him caught the virus. "Certainly, the boxing industry is taking a hard hit, and the whole country as well."


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