With the new NBA season weeks away, the league announced on Wednesday, December 2, that 8.8 percent of players in a recent round of league-wide testing returned positive results for COVID-19.
In a joint statement with the NBPA, the league announced that 48 out of 546 players tested from November 24-30 were infected with the coronavirus. It marked the first set of widespread testing in the league since the conclusion of the 2019-20 season.
A similar round of testing in June ahead of the league’s Disney World bubble resulted in a 5.3 percent positivity rate (16 of 320 players). COVID-19 is spreading at a higher rate now across the United States. That trend is true among NBA players as well.
After running a successful bubble season in Florida, the NBA is scheduled to restart on December 22, 2020, facing an entirely new set of pandemic challenges.
48 NBA Players Test Positive for Coronavirus as League Prepares for Return This Month https://t.co/QmnJlej7Nb
— Native American Vote (@NatAmericanVote) December 4, 2020
The league successfully isolated players who tested positive during the summer and kept COVID-19 from impacting the bubble. Once players and staff entered the bubble, the league reported zero cases on its campus through the end of the season.
This time, COVID-19 is more widespread. And there won’t be a bubble. Teams will travel from city to city and play in NBA arenas as usual. Players and team staff won’t be isolated from the outside world. Those who test positive will be isolated in accordance with CDC guidelines, according to the NBA.
The NBA will also face the challenge of playing in an indoor sport at the height of an airborne pandemic.
NBA preseason games start on December 11, 2020.