In the NBA’s first phase of coronavirus testing this season – which accounted for players contracting the virus before joining their teams – the positivity rate was 8.8%.
In the second phase – which covered more time players fell into the league’s protocols – the positivity rate fell to 1.5%.
Now – as players are getting even more ingrained with their teams and the protocols – the positivity rate has dropped to just 0.2%.
Of the 549 players tested for COVID-19 since Dec. 10, one new player has returned a confirmed positive test.
Noah Vonleh revealed Monday that he tested positive for coronavirus (and, on an unguaranteed contract, got cut by the Bulls). This indicates the three other Chicago players who missed Sunday’s game – Tomas Satoransky, Luke Kornet and Devon Dotson – didn’t test positive.
Overall, these results are great news for the NBA’s plan to proceed with the season (i.e., make money) outside a bubble.
For perspective, COVID-19 Projections estimates 2.7% of people in the United States had coronavirus as of Dec. 1 (the most recent date available).
However, there could be vastly different ways the league reached this point.
The optimistic take: The NBA’s protocols are working. Players are following them and staying safe.
The pessimistic take: So many NBA players have contracted coronavirus – at least 111 and almost certainly many more – there are few players left to get the virus. The league could be approaching herd immunity.
Large numbers of players of contracting and recovering from coronavirus leaves questions about long-term health and how much they’ve spread the virus to higher-risk groups.