As we all hunker down and wistfully remember the days of going out to eat, shaking hands, and not worrying about our toilet paper supply, I'm sure racing, and the potential lack of it, is also rattling around in all of our heads. As I think about how we conduct our sport, and we all continue to learn and experience what this COVID-19 pandemic is and isn't, a few observations can be made:
- It is ramping up at different rates in different regions, seemingly based on population density, cultural norms, and the response-rate/effectiveness of policy makers. Presumably, the virus will ramp down at different rates as well.
- The West coast states jumped into action rather early, and it seems to have made a positive difference.
- "Droplet" transmission seems to be the way this thing jumps, and more often than not, through contact and transfer to facial membranes (eyes, nose, mouth). Doctors in NYC have said that it takes a lot of *concentrated* unprotected exposure in a small closed space for this thing to jump through the air and get transmitted through nothing more than breathing.
- 65+, and those with underlying health conditions, are at the highest risk.
- Due to the nature of our sport, in the paddock, natural distancing boundaries are created in a well-ventilated outdoor environment between groups, caused by equipment (trailers, tow vehicles) and event schedule.
- In the race-car, everyone is suited-up, covered-up, and isolated. It's hard to touch your face with a helmet on.
- In the paddock working on cars, hand-cleaners and washing of hands is almost continuous. Teams (formal or informal) typically include a bunch of people that otherwise interact anyway. Some teams are family groups that live together. Team-to-team interaction could be limited - depending on the driver(s), that's probably a good idea anyway
- Public food concessions are a problem, when everyone is sitting down and eating together.
- Public restrooms are a problem, as individual hygiene can be a weak link (e.g. at least 20-seconds of hand washing)
- End of day barbecues are a problem
- Driver meetings are a potential problem (perhaps virtual driver meetings; enforced distancing during meetings; etc., can mitigate the risk)
- Venue operators will have varying policies in-place (e.g. PIR is a park, and subject to any orders instituted by governmental authorities; ORP is privately owned, and located in a very sparsely populated area of the state, but still subject to state/county orders)
- Wash/sanitize hands immediately after touching surfaces/objects of unknown (assumed contaminated) status
- Keep your hands off your face
- Keep 6-feet away from others