The NBA said Monday that two players at the basketball league’s campus in Orlando, Florida, have tested positive for the coronavirus, raising questions around their plan to keep the campus virus-free.
The NBA tested 322 players who’d arrived on campus on July 7 and had all been in quarantine. The league said the two players who tested positive, who have not yet been identified, “never cleared quarantine” and had since left campus to isolate at home or in separate housing.
Earlier this month, 19 NBA players tested positive while still in their home regions. Those players will stay home to recover until they are cleared to come to campus, the league said.
The NBA worked for months on a plan to keep its campus at Disney World in Florida virus-free in order to resume its season amid a global pandemic, reported The New York Times. (The league had suspended its 2019-2020 season in March after a player tested positive for COVID-19.)
Players from 22 teams around the country began to arrive at the NBA’s village earlier this month, aiming to start playing again on July 30. Part of the protocols to attempt to keep the virus out of the NBA campus’s “bubble” include testing and quarantining on arrival, then testing daily moving forward, and wearing masks when not playing.
But the success of this experiment remains to be seen — particularly with players engaging in an indoor, high-contact sport.
Other sports leagues that have attempted to resume activities have encountered their own issues. Earlier this month, Major League Soccer’s FC Dallas pulled out of a tournament after 10 players and a staff member tested positive inside their own “bubble” in Orlando.
The NBA campus is at the heart of the pandemic, not only by being located in the U.S. but also in Florida, where cases have ballooned in recent weeks. On Sunday, Florida set a new record for the highest number of new daily cases in any state, reporting more than 15,000. Meanwhile Disney World reopened its massive theme park there on Saturday, albeit with mask-wearing and other safety precautions.
The U.S. continues to lead the world in coronavirus cases, with over 3.3 million confirmed cases and over 135,000 dead so far.
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