Coronavirus and BJJ – Should you be Worried ?

As we all know, new coronavirus is spreading all over the world. Cases of sick people are already in many countries, not just in China. Due to growing panic and misinformation about this virus, we decided to look at it and its impact on BJJ. 

What is coronavirus?

According to WHO (World Health Organization) coronaviruses (CoV) are a big family of viruses that create disease ranging from the normal cold to more severe diseases such as MERS-CoV or SARS-CoV. This type of virus is zoonotic, which means they can be transmitted between animals and people. For example, SARS-CoV was transmitted from cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. 

Typical symptoms of infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath and other breathing problems. In more severe cases, an infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, or even death. To prevent infection spread high hygiene is advised. It includes frequent hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Also, it is recommended to avoid close contact with people showing signs of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Chinese coronavirus outbreak

A new virus, that we got outbreak now, was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. This type of virus hasn’t been previously recognized in humans. A new coronavirus causes an illness that has been officially named COVID-19. 

Respiratory infections like this virus are most commonly spread through the air by viral particles in droplets from a cough or sneeze. You can catch Covid-19 by close physical contact with someone with virus symptoms if you don’t get good barrier protection. The period between infection and symptoms can vary from 2 to 14 days. According to the WHO, around 5 days is the most common incubation time.


Already in January the disease began to take a deadly harvest and spread to other countries. In about the 3rd week of January authorities in the United States, Nepal, France, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan confirmed cases of the COVID-19. At the end of January, the WHO reported this virus a global emergency. The deaths in China jumped to 170, with 7,711 cases of the disease reported in the country At that time COVID-19 had spread to all 31 provinces. 

Almost every day reports of more and more infected people began to appear in various countries around the world. As time passed, more and more deaths were also recorded outside China. At the very end of February, the worldwide death toll was around 2,800 and more than 80,000 people have been confirmed infected globally. Unfortunately, these numbers are still rising. Here you can see how it looks in real-time. 

Don’t panic

Although these numbers look quite bad, experts recommend to calm down and don’t panic. COVID-19 can be deadly. However, so far the majority of infected people got only mild symptoms and recovered completely. Signs of the virus were rated mild if they did not involve infections of the lungs, or included just mild pneumonia. Except for mild, there are also severe and critical listed cases. Firs of them includes various lung problems such as shortness of breath or low blood oxygen, etc. Most dangerous critical cases involved respiratory failure, septic shock or even multiple organ dysfunction. However, only under 14 % of people got a severe infection, and less than 5 % critical. COVID-19 has killed 2-3 percent of infected individuals. Medical authorities say it is an important thing to understand. Thanks to that we can avoid unnecessary worldwide fear and confusion.

Effect of the coronavirus on BJJ

The virus affected Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners in the same way as all ordinary people. Which means we all just have to remember about prevention no matter what we do, because coronavirus is avoidable. If living in a region with outbreaks, as an athlete you should just avoid people who are sick and take care of your hygiene even more. 

How to take care of yourself and others?

To take care of your health and protect others, frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Also, remember that with hands you touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. So, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, because by doing that you can transfer the virus to then and that can make you sick. Also, make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. Just cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow or tissue when coughing or sneezing. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

The WHO also recommends keeping social distancing. Maintaining at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. BJJ is a contact sport, so its kinda hard to keep that distance. But here you just need to be a responsible teammate. If you are sick or just feeling sick, stay home. If you have any disturbing symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) and suspect a virus contact a medical institution by phone. For more info follow the directions of your local health authority. Your country authorities will simply have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Don’t underestimate this. Doing that will help to prevent the spread of viruses and other diseases.

Moreover, it’s been confirmed that the virus can survive for at least a few hours on a surface. So, gym owners just should take this into account when it comes to mat cleanness. 

Most important!

Probably if you are reading it you are in super low-risk areas, where only basic measures will be required to prevent the spread. In that case, don’t let the media and hysteria stop you from enjoying BJJ. Just be conscious of the news, and the basic preventative measures you should be taking. If your country is mildly affected, there are several cases of the disease, taking the extra precautions is recommended. However, it is still not a reason to stop training. 

P.S. also, listen to Eddie Bravo‘s thoughts about coronaviruses: