Every flu season, Jordan Morris is extra cautious: He gets his flu shot; he washes his hands as often as he can. That's because at the age of 9, Morris was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, and those with diabetes are at elevated risk of life-threatening complications when they come down with the flu.
Diabetes is also one of the seven underlying conditions that pose greater risk for "severe illness from COVID-19," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It can definitely be a little bit scary to see that [coronavirus warning]," Morris told ESPN. "I think, having diabetes, I understand that you have to take really good care of yourself in order to avoid complications in the future, so it's kind of been a similar mindset with coronavirus: you have to take really good care of yourself and follow the guidelines to avoid getting sick."
Dr. Marilyn Tan is a clinical assistant professor at Stanford and the chief of the Stanford Endocrine Clinic, with a primary clinical interest in diabetes management. She told ESPN that "being immunocompromised from diabetes is a little bit different than being immunocompromised from something such as being on chemotherapy or immunosuppressive medication from an organ transplant."
According to Tan, the greatest risk to the diabetes community is to those with poorly controlled blood sugars. "Having a lot of sugar in your blood is basically like fuel for infection," she said. Those patients are more likely to develop heart disease, high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease, "and we know that patients with preexisting heart disease right now seem to do more poorly with COVID-19."
Morris manages his blood sugar using a continuous glucose monitor, sending real-time blood-sugar readings to his phone, and an insulin pump. These technological advancements are on the leading edge of diabetes management, and they are a far cry from testing his blood sugar by pricking his fingers and injecting himself with insulin several times a day.
He also has been, for the past year, on a low-carbohydrate diet developed by the staff of the U.S. men's national team. "As a diabetic, having that low-carb diet has been super helpful in maintaining stable blood sugars," Morris said.
The threat of the coronavirus hasn't been in the abstract for the Seattle Sounders forward. The first confirmed case of the virus came in Washington on Jan. 20, nearly two months before the Major League Soccer season -- and much of the rest of the country -- was put on hiatus.
Greater Seattle was the first COVID-19 hot spot in the U.S. Since the end of February, officials in the region have been implementing guidelines that keep citizens home in an effort to minimize the spread of the virus.
"Seattle was one of the first in the U.S. to have a little bit of an outbreak, it's really sad, of course," Morris said. "I think Washington state in general has done a really good job following the guidelines and helping to flatten the curve of newly diagnosed cases. So I think the community here has done a good job of coming together and seeing how important of a situation this is."
Now, like the rest of the country, he's at home, finding ways to keep busy. A new puppy is occupying much of his time -- including cleaning up after her accidents, like the one she had during his conversation with ESPN -- as are the video meetings with the Sounders and workout regimens the club has sent to its players.
But it's all done from the confines of his home.
"The only time we go out is to get groceries, and we do that about once a week," Morris said. "If everyone does their part ... of course you see it's already helping, but it will keep helping a lot."
Not everyone is taking the stay-at-home guidelines as seriously, with social media flooded with images of those flouting social distancing. The soccer world is no exception.
Aston Villa fined playmaker Jack Grealish for disregarding the British government's self-quarantine guidelines. Manchester City are investigating Kyle Walker for allegedly hosting a party with sex workers amid the lockdown. Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho apologized for organizing a training session with Tanguy Ndombele, which also included Davinson Sanchez and Ryan Sessegnon, in a London park.
"It's really frustrating [to see people flouting stay-at-home guidelines] because I think so many people are doing the right thing, staying at home and following the guidelines to help flatten the curve, but it's not going to fully come to an end until everyone takes it really seriously and understands how serious of an issue it is," Morris said. "While some people may think they're not at as high of a risk, there's a lot of people out there that are, so by staying at home, you're going to help a lot of people."
Cabin fever isn't just limited to people and is becoming increasingly common in leagues around the world. Bundesliga clubs returned to training in small groups earlier this month. Leagues across North America -- such as the NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball -- have discussed their options for getting back to playing as soon as possible.
Closer to home for Morris, MLS has postponed matches at least through June 8, extending the suspension of play from May 10, the previous target to return to action. In an interview with ESPN, MLS commissioner Don Garber said the league is exploring alternative formats for completing the season, including tournaments, neutral locations and playing behind closed doors.
For Morris, there is risk that comes with a return. If it's determined that it's not safe enough for fans to attend matches, is it safe enough for players and staff to participate in them?
"If people truly believe that -- whenever that time is -- it's safe for us to go back, if there's any question at all, I don't think it should happen because you don't want a repeat or a new spike [of cases] if things get going too early," Morris said. "Obviously I'm not a medical professional, so I can't weigh in too much on all that, but as long as people who know a lot more about what they're talking about deem it safe, then I think it would be OK, but not until that point.
"Everyone's health and safety comes first."