The NBA is working hard to restart the 2019-20 season. With a destination and format in place, it seems all but inevitable that action will resume come next month.
But with cases growing rapidly in Florida (Orlando in particular), uncertainty and doubt continue to increase in not just the NBA community — but the world at large. In fact, according to one epidemiologist from Emory University, he says the comeback of basketball under these conditions is “extremely” concerning.
The state of Florida reported 11,365 new coronavirus cases over three days this past weekend — its three worst days on record. Orange County, home of Walt Disney World, reported 437 on Saturday — more than entire countries once considered epicenters of the pandemic. Test-positive rates topped 15 percent. Seven-day averages surged. And all of that, for an NBA attempting to finish its season at Disney in Orlando, is problematic, experts say.
“Extremely concerning,” says Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist at Emory University.
“Absolutely,” says Bill Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University.
“Of course, they should be concerned about case numbers around where they’re trying to build their bubble,” says Jared Baeten, an epidemiology professor at the University of Washington.
“Yes,” says Kathleen Bachynski, a public health professor at Muhlenberg College. “And that’s because a true bubble is just really, really hard to create.”
The league is trying their best and the plan implemented by Silver and other executives is certainly well-thought-out.
Unfortunately, something as volatile and microscopic as a virus has a way of infiltrating even the staunchest of protections. The only way to really stay safe is isolation and quarantine.
So far, no word has been handed down on if the NBA is planning to revise or outright cancel their plans to restart. By all accounts, things will start on July 30th. But should they?
That question is being asked more and more as the number of confirmed cases continues to rise…