The NBA is conducting rigorous COVID-19 testing before 22 teams descend upon Disney World to begin its bubble league in an attempt to wrap up the 2019-20 season. This testing, it has long been presumed, would identify cases of the virus before players head to Orlando and would let the league keep everyone who makes their way into the bubble safe.
The first round of testing occurred on June 23, the first day that the league mandated that this would occur in its pre-Orlando guidelines. Of 302 tests done to players, the NBA announced that it was able to find 16 positive cases. According to a release put out by the league, “Any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician.”
There is no word on how many more rounds of testing will occur between now and the day that teams begin making their way to Florida — which is currently one of the COVID-19 hotspots in the United States — or if any coaches/additional team personnel were tested and identified as positive cases. There have, however, been a few players who have announced that they contracted the virus, like Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon and several members of the Sacramento Kings.
Testing and identifying positive cases before restarting a league is nothing new, as we saw this occur with soccer leagues in Europe before things kicked back off. For example, the English Premier League conducted numerous rounds of testing before it fired its campaign back up and as it has resumed. In a statement put out by the Prem earlier this week, thousands of tests have been conducted in that period of time, with 18 total positive cases being identified as a result.