Senior Games postponed to avoid virus exposure for at-risk population

Coronavirus fatality rate drastically increases for those age 50 and older, those most at-risk are considered ages 60 and older

The Sun-Gazette

VISALIA – Winning never gets old, as the Visalia Senior Games motto goes, but, unfortunately for seniors, the coronavirus gets old people. 

Visalia Parks and Recreation announced last Friday it was postponing its popular competition for those 55 and older due to concerns about the spread of the coronavirus. The fifth annual games, scheduled to take place March 21-22 and 28-29, was particularly concerning as it caters to the population most at-risk of contracting and, in some cases, dying from the virus. Those 50 years old and older are almost 20 times more likely to die from the virus than younger patients. Age is a particularly strong factor in the severity of the viral effects of COVID-19 as the fatality rate doubles from infants (0%) to 40 somethings (0.4%), then triples for those in their 50s (1.3%) and again in their 60s (3.6%), before doubling into the 70s (8%) and nearly doubles again in the 80s (14.8%), according to the World Health Organization.  

This year’s Senior Games were anticipating more than 500 competitors from Bakersfield to Fresno but also some from Southern California, the Bay Area and even out of state. The visiting teams and individuals travel to town with friends and family where they stay for a weekend, spending money on lodging, food, and shopping.

The games’ most popular event was pickleball, which has been growing in popularity in Visalia for the last five years. A hybrid between tennis and table tennis, pickleball uses a shorter court and large, ping-pong-like paddles. In all, 13 Olympic-style events were planned for this year including swimming, and track & field, which each include several events, as well as mainstay events such as in archery, bowling, disc golf, golf, horseshoes, table tennis, trap shooting and cycling. The cycling and runs will go through Yokohl Valley which should offer athletics as well as awe thanks to the “superbloom” of wildflowers on the hillsides. This year’s newest addition to the lineup is racquetball.

The Visalia Senior Games was the first Senior Games in California’s Central Valley. Created under the umbrella of the California Senior Games Association (CSGA), the Visalia Senior Games promote healthy, active lifestyles for adults ages 50 and better. The Visalia Senior Games aim to provide excellent conditions for seniors who seek a competitive environment along with the camaraderie of other athletes. 

This year’s games were presented by Kaweah Delta Medical Center to promote healthy, active lifestyles for adults 50 and over and provide a weekend of fun for visitors of all ages. For updates on the games, call the Visalia Parks and Recreation Department at 559-733-4365 or visit VisaliaSeniorGames.com.

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