Despite the United States’ limited availability of tests, entire NBA teams are getting screened for the virus.
The Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, and Brooklyn Nets have all gotten tested and, so far, only 7 players have been confirmed to have COVID-19 — with most of them being asymptomatic. 58 tests were given to the Jazz organization alone so one has to think the NBA has tested over 100 people for the virus, despite there being a national shortage.
As one of the national hotbeds for the pandemic, New York City mayor Bill De Blasio had a lot to say about the number of tests being given to these NBA players and other well-known figures in the community.
We wish them a speedy recovery. But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested.
Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick. https://t.co/7uQlL3zc7Z
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) March 17, 2020
The league is just trying to do the right thing in getting their guys tested, so you can’t really blame them. It is unfortunate, however, that in a situation where tests are so sparse, they are being used on asymptomatic stars and seemingly lower-risk patients instead of folk who are already sick are who are immunocompromised.
After finding out about the Mayor’s comments, NBA spokesman Mike Bass defended the testing of players on ESPN:
“Public health authorities and team doctors have been concerned that, given NBA players’ direct contact with each other and close interactions with the general public, in addition to their frequent travel, they could accelerate the spread of the virus. Following two players testing positive last week, others were tested and five additional players tested positive. Hopefully, by these players choosing to make their test results public, they have drawn attention to the critical need for young people to follow CDC recommendations in order to protect others, particularly those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.”
NBA spokesman Mike Bass on NBA teams receiving Coronavirus tests. pic.twitter.com/rKOdhiCCw4
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) March 18, 2020
When you put it like that, it does make more sense. Still, concerns about testing, in general, are valid.
No doubt, this is a tough time for everyone as the community remains under lockdown for the foreseeable future. As this thing continues to get worse, the hope is that test kits will become more readily available.