In its second week of testing all 546 players in the NBA, the league and the NBPA announced in a joint statement Thursday that eight new players tested positive for COVID-19. That number is down significantly from the first week of testing after players returned to their home markets, where 48 of them tested positive for the coronavirus, which was nearly nine percent of the league.
The league's statement reads:
"Of the 541 players tested for COVID-19 since Dec. 2, 8 new players have returned positive tests. As previously announced, 48 players returned positive tests during the initial return-to-market testing phase from Nov. 24 – Dec. 1.
Anyone who has returned a confirmed positive test is isolated until they are cleared for leaving isolation under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association in accordance with CDC guidance."
Without the presence of a bubble, the league will be facing the very real possibility of players and team staff testing positive throughout the course of the season. We've already seen community spread happen in both the MLB and NFL, both of which played without a bubble in place and experienced many postponed games over a season. The NBA took notice of that, and tried to implement as many health and safety protocols to limit the amount of exposure to the coronavirus.
Part of what the league will try to do this upcoming season is hand down punishments to teams and players who don't follow the guidelines laid out to them. Those include not going to bars, restaurants or public gyms during the season, among many other rules. If any are violated teams could face fines and loss of draft selections, while players could see a decrease in compensation.
As the league moves forward in its plan to start the regular season on Dec. 22, coronavirus test results will remain at the forefront of the conversation for the NBA as it tries to safely compete during a global pandemic.