The Raptors’ coronavirus issues have spread from coaches to players.
Toronto’s effect on the NBA’s coronavirus landscape is apparently larger than just two postponed games.
Of the 456 players tested for COVID-19 since Feb. 24, seven new players have returned confirmed positive tests.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Many of the positives cases, as expected, are isolated on one team (Toronto). The NBA postponed two Raptors games and the team is returning to action tonight. Sources said the internal spread seems to have arisen from inconsistent mask-wearing from coaching staff members. https://t.co/YkyI58T4wS
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 3, 2021
Five Toronto players are out due to coronavirus protocols: Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw.
So, at least two of the seven coronavirus cases were on other teams. The number on other teams might be higher. Raptors could be out due to contact tracing rather than positive tests.
But this is a troubling outcome with Toronto.
In the previous five rounds of testing, NBA players had two, zero, one, five and two cases of coronavirus. So, seven is a significant increase.
For it to happen because Raptors coaches didn’t properly wear masks is unacceptable. Even with the NBA’s frequent testing, coronavirus can infiltrate a team. Masks prevent further spread. They’re an important and relatively easy way for people to keep those around them safer amid this pandemic. The Toronto coaches who didn’t properly mask up disrespected those close to them.
Worse might be yet to come.
As players travel during the All-Star break, many could contract coronavirus. Players have gotten coronavirus at significantly higher rates while away from their teams.
Altogether, NBA players have had at least 160 cases – and almost certainly many more – of coronavirus.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel with coronavirus rates falling as the weather warms and vaccination rates rising as supply increases.
But this is probably just the start one last rough stretch for the NBA.