7 Percent of This Entire Pro Sports League Has COVID
Despite nine more positive tests, the NBA is still moving ahead with restarting play.
On March 11, as coronavirus cases first began to multiply in the United States, the NBA announced that it would be postponing the 2019-2020 season, effective immediately. The decision was made in response to, as the league reported, a Utah Jazz player testing positive. It was later revealed that both Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Jazz had the virus. As of press time, the NBA is planning to resume its season on July 30. But even preparations for play have proven to be risky. On July 2, NPR reported that 7 percent of the entire league has tested positive for COVID-19, weeks before professional basketball is slated to come back.
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced in a joint statement last week that nine more players were found to have the virus after tests conducted in the last week of June. That number brings the total amount of NBA players who've tested positive to 25, out of 351 individuals. In addition to players, 884 NBA employees were also tested, yielding 10 positives.
"Any player, coach or team staff member who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until they satisfy public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and have been cleared by a physician," the statement concludes.
While the NBA has not declared any changes to its plan to reopen the league at the end of the month for a truncated season, teams are responding to positives within their ranks in their own ways. ESPN reported that anonymous sources said that the the Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings both closed their private practice facilities due to coronavirus results, though the specific players and/or employees affected were not made public. Per the outlet, the Miami Heat, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, and LA Clippers had already shut down their facilities by the time the Bucks and Kings updates were reported.
In June, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, NBA bosses unveiled a 113-page plan for safely resuming the season. All games are to take place at the Disney World campus, where players and staff will also be housed. Taking the guesswork out of social distancing, the document indicated that players would wear an alarm that would alert them if they are within six feet of another person for longer than five seconds, as well as rings that have been shown to detect a possible coronavirus infection days before symptoms arise. The players will also be subject to rules about face coverings, personal hygiene, and sharing items. The league stated that fines, suspensions, and being sent home from the campus are all possible punishments for violating these rules.
However, the document also explains that detecting COVID-19 in the player population would not yield another shutdown. And for more on play in the age of coronavirus, Dr. Fauci Just Dropped a Huge Bombshell on Sports Fans Across the U.S.