The NBA announced Thursday that nine more players tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19, bringing the total to 25 of 351 players in testing conducted over a weeklong span.
Last week, the NBA revealed that 16 of 302 players had tested positive and raised that total to 25 on Thursday. The league also said that 884 team staff members were tested, with 10 testing positive.
The numbers for players are far above what the national average is – seven percent of players positive compared to slightly less than one percent for the general population (and the same figure for positive tests among the tested). The staff figures are more in line with the national number, averaging out to one percent.
“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 NBA said in the release.
Right now, the NBA is in Phase 2 of the five-part plan to return, gathering players in their home cities (except for the Toronto Raptors, who have already headed down to Fort Myers, Florida). Teams are scheduled to arrive in Orlando at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex next week for training camp, quarantining in hotels at first and then conducting camp July 9-29 before the eight-game seeding portion of the schedule begins on July 30.
Speaking at a Time 100 talk on Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said, “We have a panel of scientists, doctors, experts that are working with us. We’re going to see as we go. Certainly, if we have a lot of cases, we’re going to stop. You cannot run from this virus. I am absolutely convinced that it will be safer on this campus than off this campus, because there aren’t many other situations I’m aware of where there’s mass testing of asymptomatic employees. So in some ways this is maybe a model for how other industries ultimately open.”