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Risks and benefits of team sports during 2nd wave –



Organized sports are typically part of promoting mental, physical and social health for kids, but the pandemic is requiring parents and sports organizations to weigh the risks and benefits of play.

The recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Ottawa and other hotspots across the province is raising questions about the risks of any activity that involves gathering. But, some experts say, with precautions in place, team sports might be a relatively safe way to get exercise and improve psychological health.

Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist and an associate professor of health sciences at the University of Ottawa, said parents should consider how COVID-19 spreads when assessing the risk.

Specifically, they should consider distance between participants, outdoors being safer than indoors, avoiding face-to-face exposure and evaluating the duration and intensity of contact.

If we get past the anticipated peak in October, November and if we’re doing better then — then I’d reassess the risk.– Raywat Deonandan, University of Ottawa associate professor

“I’d be confident sending my child to an outdoor sport, that does not involve physical contact,” Deonandan said. “Soccer comes to mind … I’d be really confident having my child play tennis or other kind of racquet sports.”

As for hockey and ringette, Deonandan said hockey arenas are big enough that the virus could dissipate in a similar way to being outdoors, as long as there’s no contact and players get changed at home.

Hockey goalie Jameson Kaine gets changed in physical distancing pods set up outside the Burnaby Winter Club in Burnaby, B.C., May 14, 2020. Some experts say, with precautions in place, team sports might be a relatively safe way to get exercise and improve psychological health during the pandemic. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

He said sports like wrestling or contact football, where individual players may be locked together face-to-face, pose a higher risk.

Get active — 2 metres apart

Ian Janssen, a professor of kinesiology and public health at Queen’s University, said it’s important for children to get active.

“Being active, sitting less and getting out of the house — those are very good things in terms of helping you cope with the mental health challenges of COVID[-19],” he said.

He said long-distance running would likely be the safest activity to avoid viral transmission, but with children especially it’s important for them to want to stay engaged.

“You can tell a 12-year-old to go out and run for five kilometres, how many are going to want to do that? Not a lot,” he said.

Janssen said his daughter now has a taped-off area to ensure two metres of distance when she participates in dance. He said his son’s swim club has implemented distancing measures within the pool, including prohibiting passing and designated starting and stopping points. 

Benefit to have ‘normalcy in their life’

Marcia Morris, executive director of the Ottawa Sport Council, says member organizations have seen a dip in registration for the fall, but a core group of people have signed up because of what their sport means to them.

“They’re not going to restaurants, they’re not going to bars, they’re not going to movie theatres, they’re not going out, but the one thing they are prioritizing is going to do their sport,” Morris said.

Marcia Morris says organizations like the Rideau Canoe Club have changed how they work to make their activities safer, including sanitizing and distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Andrew Lee/CBC News)

“Because of the physical and mental benefit, but also the ability to connect and have some normalcy in their life.”

Morris said the council’s 70 member organizations contributed to developing a resource in July to allow for a safe return— including protocols for self-screening, cleaning and distancing — from canoeing to rugby and hockey.

Some of those adaptations mean reducing the number of players participating at a time or focusing on “skills and drills” rather than competition, she said.

Epidemiologist Raywat Deonandan says sports that maintain distance between players are the safest during the COVID-19 pandemic, while those that include close physical contact should be avoided. 1:00

No data on cases linked to sports

There have been disruptions in the world of recreational sport as a result of COVID-19. A hockey league in Gatineau, Que., recently shut down temporarily due to positive cases and another in Toronto postponed its season due to the recent increase in cases.

Morris said the sport council has not heard of any such cases in Ottawa within its membership.

In a statement, Ottawa Public Health says it doesn’t have specific data on any spread through sports in part due to the difficulty of tracing individual transmission incidents and also to protect personal health information.

Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist, poses for a photo on Sept. 28. (Trevor Pritchard/CBC)

The Ottawa Sport Council said many leagues and associations are offering shorter registration periods, instead of the typical September to March period, to allow for more flexibility.

“Most participants understand that there might be stop and start because as we go through waves of COVID[-19], there might be the requirement that, for safety reasons, the activity has to stop,” Morris said.

Epidemiologist Deonandan suggests a wait-and-see approach for higher risk sports. 

“If you can hold off a month or two as we see how this disease moves along its proposed trajectory, if we get past the anticipated peak in October, November and if we’re doing better then — then I’d reassess the risk.”

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Hockey Twitter demands a Lunar Classic after NASA reveals moon has a lot more ice than previously believed – Russian Machine Never Breaks



NASA made a special announcement on Monday that had the hockey world buzzing.

“Several studies have showed that water on the moon surface is in its permanently shadowed craters,” Paul Hertz, director of astrophysics at NASA Headquarters, said according to CBS News. “Today, we are announcing that for the first time, water has been confirmed to be present on a sunlit surface of the moon.

It is believed that there are at least 15,000 square miles of the moon’s surface that have deposits of water ice, meaning future astronauts could live off the land.

And Hockey Twitter is hoping those future astronauts are NHL players.

The ridiculousness began early in the day when the NHL on NBC Twitter photoshopped the Blackhawks and Bruins facing off on the moon. “MOON. HOCKEY. 🌕,” they wrote. “We’re ready, @NASA!”

“Call it the Lunar Classic,” the Ducks demanded.

“The Lunar Classic is going to be out of this world!” the Blackhawks added with an excellent pun.

The Hurricanes were excited about some “space hockey.”

So were the Devils.

Later, on their Instagram page, NHL on NBC photoshopped Alex Ovechkin, Roman Josi, and David Pastrnak as astronauts.

Hockey Twitter imagined hockey scenarios on the moon, while another fan, Matthew Henderson, created an elaborate media kit promoting a fake moon hockey event.

I want this to happen so badly now.

Headline photo: Pixabay images

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Water discovered on moon's sunlit surface – CityNews Toronto



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NASA finds definitive evidence of water on moon’s surface – Global News



The moon lacks the bodies of liquid water that are a hallmark of Earth but scientists said on Monday lunar water is more widespread than previously known, with water molecules trapped within mineral grains on the surface and more water perhaps hidden in ice patches residing in permanent shadows.

While research 11 years ago indicated water was relatively widespread in small amounts on the moon, a team of scientists is now reporting the first unambiguous detection of water molecules on the lunar surface. At the same time, another team is reporting that the moon possesses roughly 15,000 square miles (40,000 square kilometers) of permanent shadows that potentially could harbor hidden pockets of water in the form of ice.

Water is a precious resource and a relatively plentiful lunar presence could prove important to future astronaut and robotic missions seeking to extract and utilize water for purposes such as a drinking supply or a fuel ingredient.

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A team led by Casey Honniball of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland detected molecular water on the lunar surface, trapped within natural glasses or between debris grains. Previous observations have suffered from ambiguity between water and its molecular cousin hydroxyl, but the new detection used a method that yielded unambiguous findings.

The only way for this water to survive on the sunlit lunar surfaces where it was observed was to be embedded within mineral grains, protecting it from the frigid and foreboding environment. The researchers used data from the SOFIA airborne observatory, a Boeing 747SP aircraft modified to carry a telescope.

“A lot of people think that the detection I’ve made is water ice, which is not true. It’s just the water molecules – because they’re so spread out they don’t interact with each other to form water ice or even liquid water,” Honniball said.

NASA spacecraft gets sample from nearby asteroid Bennu

NASA spacecraft gets sample from nearby asteroid Bennu

The second study, also published in the journal Nature Astronomy, focused upon so-called cold traps on the moon, regions of its surface that exist in a state of perpetual darkness where temperatures are below about negative 260 degrees Fahrenheit (negative 163 degrees Celsius). That is cold enough that frozen water can remain stable for billions of years.

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Using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft, researchers led by planetary scientist Paul Hayne of the University of Colorado, Boulder detected what may be tens of billions of small shadows, many no bigger than a small coin. Most are located in the polar regions.

“Our research shows that a multitude of previously unknown regions of the moon could harbor water ice,” Hayne said. “Our results suggest that water could be much more widespread in the moon’s polar regions than previously thought, making it easier to access, extract and analyze.”

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NASA is planning a return of astronauts to the moon, a mission envisioned as paving the way for a later journey carrying a crew to Mars. Accessible sources where water can be harvested on the moon would beneficial to those endeavors.

“Water is not just constrained to the polar region. It’s more spread out than we thought it was,” Honniball said.

Another mystery that remains unsolved is the source of the lunar water.

“The origin of water on the moon is one of the big-picture questions we are trying to answer through this and other research,” Hayne said. “Currently, the major contenders are comets, asteroids or small interplanetary dust particles, the solar wind, and the moon itself through outgassing from volcanic eruptions.”

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Click to play video 'NASA aiming for 2024 Moon landing'

NASA aiming for 2024 Moon landing

NASA aiming for 2024 Moon landing

Earth is a wet world, with vast salty oceans, large freshwater lakes and ice caps that serve as water reservoirs.

“As our closest planetary companion, understanding the origins of water on the moon can also shed light on the origins of Earth’s water – still an open question in planetary science,” Hayne added.

© 2020 Reuters

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