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Why the NBA is confident about managing COVID-19

Adam-Silver

Harden partying without a mask in Vegas and Atlanta wasn't just irresponsible; it went against the just created NBA COVID protocol. The NBA "punished" Harden by making him wait 6 extra days before joining training camp - while he was trying not to join training camp. With the season starting today, how does the NBA plan to manage all the risks that come with travel?

The Orlando bubble was a great success. We all remember the impressive fact not a single player tested positive. As always the devil's in the details - zero positive tests once they cleared quarantine and entered the bubble. A detail that may be the explanation why the NBA didn't slam Harden with a stricter fine. Can you make him wear a mask if he's immune? 

At least 111 NBA players (and almost certainly many more) already contracted COVID-19. All the talk about no players testing positive in the bubble made us forget how many players showed up late for "personal reasons." Some like Westbrook shared the fact they had it, others decided to keep it private. We paid even less attention to the delete eight teams that didn't make it to Orlando. 

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Epidemiologists say you need about 60% to 70% of the population immune, either through vaccination or developing immunity after contracting the disease,to develop herd immunity. The NBA may be a lot closer to that number than we think. 

There is still a lot we don't know about COVID-19. How long does immunity last after you had it? Estimates are around 3 months, but even if you contract it again it is believed you should have a more mild case. Can you be a carrier during those three months? Most likely not, but it's not 100%.

Everyone needs to be vigilant and take precautions to protect themselves and others. But understanding that out of 450 active NBA players, at least 30% probably already had COVID-19 could explain why the league is optimistic about keeping their schedule, and why they won't start with severe punishment for breaking certain COVID protocols. 

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