On Monday, Major League Baseball announced that clubhouse access would be restricted due to concerns over Coronavirus. Journalists and non-essential personnel would have limited access. If journalists want to speak to a player, they will now have to make requests and conduct interviews from a distance of at least six feet in a press conference style setting.
Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper is undeterred by Coronavirus. Per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Harper said, “I live, man. I don’t worry about a disease or a virus. I live my life. I’m doing everything the same. I’m shaking people’s hands, I’m high-fiving. I’m healthy. I’m 27. The people that are affected, it’s a lot of older and maybe some young, as well. But I just live my life.”
Harper also offered to give a writer a hug — something that is recommended people don’t do, along with shaking hands, in order to reduce the odds of spreading the infection. Additionally, Harper spoke about the importance of journalists having access in order to cover the sport.
While Harper’s sentiment about the importance of access to quality journalism is appreciated, he is wrong about living his life. He is correct that a healthy 27-year-old doesn’t have as much to worry about, but similar to getting vaccinated, we should all be taking precautions on behalf of those of us who are older or otherwise immunocompromised. The infection spreads exponentially, so anything we can do individually will collectively help to slow the spread. That reduces strain on our hospitals and other ancillary support systems, among other things.
So, Bryce — and everyone else for that matter — please stop shaking hands and high-fiving for the time being. And wash your hands regularly!