When the NBA announced its intentions to restart the season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, the biggest question was whether the planned bubble would be able to successfully insulate the league and its players from the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in an area that has seen a massive spike in cases in the last month-plus.
The biggest hurdle was going to be the early weeks — as the MLS learned when two entire teams had to withdraw from their tournament in Orlando due to outbreaks within their teams — and so far, so good for the NBA. The first round of player testing saw two positive tests in the bubble, but both were caught during the quarantine period while those players were still in their hotel room and had not interacted with others.
On Monday, the league announced even more good news, as over the past week of testing, with 346 players being tested, there were zero positive tests. This indicates that the system is working as intended, as player testing outside the bubble has flagged positive cases prior to those players joining their teams in Orlando, and making those players test negative twice before coming to Orlando — where they must test negative two more times before joining their teams.
It is a rare bit of good news and offers a test case of how aggressive testing, isolation, and taking the necessary precautions of wearing masks and social distancing can have the intended effect of mitigating the spread of the virus tremendously. While this is a good start, the league and its players must continue being vigilant about following protocols and keeping the bubble secure, but for those hoping basketball does indeed start on time, this is welcome news.