On June 23, 16 NBA players tested positive for coronavirus. Between June 24-29, nine more NBA players tested positive.
But that downward trend took a sharp reversal in July.
At least 19 more players, two after arriving at Disney World, have tested positive for coronavirus
Of the 322 players tested for COVID-19 since arriving on the NBA Campus July 7, two have returned confirmed positive tests while in quarantine. Those players never cleared quarantine and have since left the Campus to isolate at home or in isolation housing.
Since July 1, during in-market testing, 19 NBA players newly tested positive. These players are staying in their home markets and recovering until they are cleared under CDC guidelines and NBA rules for leaving home isolation and joining the Campus.
Those 19 new positive tests are a disturbingly high number.
It can be difficult to compare different date ranges. June 23 is only a single day, but as the first day of in-market testing, it covered weeks of players potentially contracting coronavirus. The second testing period (June 24-29) is shorter than the July period (which varied based on whether teams departed July 7, 8 or 9 for Disney World).
But, ideally, the number of cases would’ve shrunk as players became increasingly immersed in the NBA’s plan, which called for greater precautions and testing.
The league and teams should investigate why there were so many new cases in July – then explain the findings to the public. Given the lack of transparency around the restart, I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.
At least there are no known positive tests from players who’ve been given free reign within the bubble. That’s the most alarming scenario. Two players testing positive during their in-room quarantines appears to be the system working.
However, the league should confirm that anyone traveling with those two players didn’t become infected en route. A false negative could be catastrophic.
This brings the minimum total of NBA players who’ve tested positive for coronavirus under the league’s restart plan to 44.
And there’s two positive tests at Disney World.* Plus everyone who tested positive before June 23 (at least 10 players**) and tested positive only outside the NBA’s system.
That’s a LARGE segment of NBA players – at least 54.
*It’s possible these two players previously tested positive, tested negative, traveled to Orlando then tested positive again. So, they’re not necessarily new cases.
**Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, Pistons big Christian Wood, four Nets including Kevin Durant, Celtics guard Marcus Smart and two Lakers.
Yet, it still doesn’t say much about the safety of the NBA bubble, which is just getting underway. The outside world is dangerously full of coronavirus. That’s what all these positive tests so far show.
Additional positive tests – by players fully involved in the bubble – will be far more chilling for the NBA’s planned season completion.