The NBA continues to have success in its bubble plan down in Orlando, both on and especially off the court. As other sports leagues across the United States try to find the safest path toward returning amid a global pandemic, the NBA is proving that a bubble may be the only safe path. When teams arrived on the Disney World campus last month, two players tested positive for COVID-19, but since then it's been smooth sailing for the league.
Now, for the fifth consecutive week, zero players tested positive for COVID-19. Per the league's release:
Of the 341 players tested for COVID-19 on the NBA campus since test results were last announced on Aug. 12, zero have returned confirmed positive tests.
Even as games have begun, and some players leaving the bubble site to attend to various family matters, none of that has impacted the safety of the league's plan thus far. Prior to games tipping off on July 30, NBA commissioner Adam Silver told the New York Times that he was "cautiously optimistic" regarding the current safety of the bubble and the possibility of the NBA being able to finish out the season. Silver was careful to take a victory lap as players haven't begun full games at that point. However, as the league wraps up seeding games and prepares for the playoffs, there appears to be no issues.
The next challenge will be when the NBA allows players to invite family and guests inside the bubble, starting Aug. 30. Per the league's health and safety protocols that it sent out to teams and players back in June, guests will have to adhere to the following rules before and during their stay in the bubble:
- Quarantine for seven days prior to traveling to the bubble
- Must submit a clearance form signed by a physician that says they have no risk factors associated with COVID-19, and haven't had any symptoms of the virus or associated/cared for anyone with the virus
- Must undergo COVID-19 testing upon arriving at Disney World followed by a mandatory seven-day quarantine in temporary housing on the campus
- Once cleared from quarantine, they must undergo regular coronavirus testing, daily temperature checks, wear a face mask at all times and social distance from everyone else on the campus aside from the player that they are the guest of
The NBA's thorough plan to complete the remainder of the 2019-20 season has worked so far, and while it's still a long journey to crowning a champion in October, the league's in a far better place than what the MLB is currently dealing with, and what the NFL will have to figure out in the near future.