Nevada COVID-19 cases on the decline; what that means for the 2021 WSOP

Jon Sofen
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Posted on February 24, 2021 9:30 pm EST

Nevada’s COVID-19 cases and deaths are on the (sharp) decline, and that very well could be a good sign for the 2021 World Series of Poker. But we certainly can’t make any guarantees.

In most years, we’ve already seen the full WSOP schedule for that coming summer. Those who organize the series typically send that information out as early in the year as possible so that players who don’t reside in Las Vegas can begin planning their summer trips.

Due to the continuing global health pandemic, there hasn’t been a schedule released, and we probably won’t hear any news on that front for quite some time. That is because the WSOP staff simply doesn’t know if hosting a series this summer will even be possible or safe.

The fact of the matter is no one really knows just how dangerous the coronavirus will be in a few months. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, has said numerous times that he believes COVID-19 is here to stay. But he also claims the virus will become less harmful as more people get vaccinated.

With that said, there are definitely some positive developments with COVID-19 in the U.S. in recent weeks, news so positive that you should have reason to be optimistic about a 2021 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.

Relaxing restrictions could help WSOP

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak recently announced that casinos will soon be permitted to increase capacity to 50%, up from 25% the past few months. Even better, on May 1, he is going to allow local governments to start determining the necessary COVID-19 guidelines.

That very well could mean that Clark County, home to Las Vegas, decides in May that all or most restrictions will be lifted. If so, and many locals believe this will be the case, that would open up the door for large gatherings such as the WSOP.

But the biggest piece of positive news for those hoping to chase some bracelets at the Rio this summer is the current trends of COVID-19 cases in Nevada.

Last month, the Silver State had a seven-day average throughout the month of 1,900-2,600 daily coronavirus cases. As a result, the governor refused to relax his stringent COVID-19 restrictions for the state.

This month, however, things have drastically improved. Nevada hasn’t reached 1,000 COVID-19 cases in any single day in February. And the seven-day average on February 23 was just 372 cases. It has now been almost a full month since the state hit 1,000 cases in a day.

Overall, Nevada has 292,000 COVID-19 cases and 4,903 deaths the past year. That ranks 33rd in the country, which makes sense given Nevada is the 37th most populous state in the country.

Most of Nevada’s COVID-19 cases come from Las Vegas, which represents two-thirds of the state’s entire 3 million population.

With cases significantly down, and no reason to expect them to rise between now and May, there’s a good chance Clark County will decide in a few months to permit large gatherings. If so, the World Series of Poker has at least a shot at happening this summer. And if not by summer, then certainly in the fall.

Rest of the country also a concern

Now, there is another issue at stake here, and that is Nevada players aren’t the only ones who compete in the WSOP. Players from all around the world come to Las Vegas each summer to chase bracelets.

As it stands, many countries aren’t permitting travel to the United States. And the WSOP must take into consideration the COVID-19 situation all around the country before determining if and when to host the series.

But we have some more good news for you on that front. Since February 12, the seven-day national average for COVID-19 cases has been under 100,000 per day. Over the past few days, it’s been under 70,000. That’s a stark contrast compared to the past three months.

From November 4 to February 11, the U.S. had more than 100,000 cases everyday. And in most days the total cases exceeded 200,000. So, the entire country is in far better shape in terms of combatting COVID-19 now than it was just a few weeks ago.

On top of the decrease in cases, more Americans are getting vaccinated everyday. Dr. Fauci anticipates the vaccine becoming available to every citizen by the end of the summer, and the U.S. is getting closer to reaching herd immunity. That is exceptional news for those who are hoping to have a live WSOP to compete in this year.

Featured image source: Flickr