COVID-19 Survival amongst endurance athletes: runners, cyclists, triathletes

I’d like to pose a scary, but necessary question: since the people who are dying of COVID-19 are dying because their lungs are failing, reducing their blood oxygenation to the point where they pass away, is it possible that endurance athletes are better prepared to survive the disease, should they get it? I realize there are other factors at play, but at a basic level, it seems like having a solid aerobic base might help someone survive the disease. I’d like a Coach Chad deep dive, PLEASE!

Oh and please excuse my non-technical parlance, I am neither a doctor, nor much of a fitness nut. I would consider my understanding more “enthusiast-grade.”

I doubt it ….we are in a low risk group because I assume we don’t smoke, have diabetes (at least the obesity caused type 2) and are non obese and healthy. Bar that if you get something serious all bets are off. That said most people don’t get very ill - if Boris Johnson and Prince Charles in the UK had mild symptoms I fancy my chances but you never can tell as a few teenagers have died…still it is not worth worrying about - who was the guy who said the quote about things you can control vs those you can’t and wisdom (bar following the guide lines of course) :grinning:

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I think most severe covid patients don’t die of low blood oxygenation. They die of multiple organ failure and sepsis. The immune system seems to go into overdrive for some people and attack healthy cells.

I should add, if there is medical treatment. Without treatment, yes, people might just not get enough oxygen.

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A very sincere thank you for the replies so far! Be well!

We want to leave the COVID conversations to the medical professionals during these difficult times.

Here is an an official statement from our CEO Nate Pearson:


Ok! That sounds reasonable.

This is incorrect and you should remove the comment. Here is an article citing multiple physicians and studies that describe severe illness that features pneumonia as the cause of death in the most severe portion of patients. The reason why ventilators are so in demand is because they currently are the only way to keep their lungs breathing long enough for their body to develop anti-bodies:

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Not focused on endurance athletes but here is an article about who appears to be most at risk from COVID-19 according to a preliminary study.

Long story short, the odds for most users here are probably a lot better than than folks that suffer from one or more underlying health concerns.

The Serenity Prayer?

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Here is a video discussing this a bit.

  1. Keep in mind that there is only a few months of data related to COVID-19, so much of the information is still based on best guesses and probabilities. There are many variables at work, even when comparing age groups from different countries and regions.

  2. Younger people are less likely to die after infection, but there are still young people that have died.

  3. Smokers and male sex appear to have greater risk of fatal outcome.

  4. Viral load. This is poorly studied so far, but some believe that a heavier viral load at the time of infection may lead to worse outcomes. This is why the mortality rate among health care providers and others on the front lines is worse. Surgeons in the OR, where the virus can become aerosolized because of general anesthesia or the procedure itself, may also be at increased risk.

  5. Transmission. Conflicting data here. Some epidemiologists have been pushing that this is primarily droplet transmission, so getting close to someone, getting coughed or sneezed on, etc are the primary modes of transmission. But the are some studies now suggesting airborne spread and infection as well. This is much trickier but, at least in my opinion, helps explain just how quickly COVID-19 spreads.

  6. Recovery post-illness. This is an area that is particularly important to our group here. Some early evidence that those who got quite ill but pulled through could have long-term negative impacts on the cardiac and pulmonary systems. Too early to really know, but the best thing is to avoid infection in the first place.

  7. Prevention. Social distancing, rigorous hand washing, hand sanitizer, wiping down surfaces others have been in contact with are all recommended. Face masks are controversial but used properly they will at least help somewhat, both to prevent getting COVID-19, but perhaps even more importantly to reduce the risk of spreading it to others. The problem is there is a severe shortage of proper N95 masks, and if our health care providers don’t have access to them we will all lose badly. Chinese KN95 masks, which should provide fairly similar levels of protection, may be more widely available. Cloth or homemade masks offer significantly less protection but still may help.

Hope this info helps and I hope everyone stays healthy. Be conservative and take extra precautions.

Important to add that the information is changing rapidly, even by the hour at times, so important to take that into consideration.

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Could be ….I should Google it - often quoted but never thought to check on the origin - still I’m trying to avoid worrying about stuff I have no control over :grinning:

Bloody hell ….I can hack racing being off for a year…I can hack feeling crap for a week …but a permanent cut in my FTP…that is beyond the pale! :rage: