It goes without saying that I have written daily about Covid-19 or the coronavirus. It’s worldwide news, and it’s affecting operations in the NBA.
On Wednesday early morning, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN wrote that the NBA’s Board of Governors will take part in a conference call to discuss game options regarding the spread of the coronavirus. One of the options is to play games in neutral cities or to have certain NBA teams play more games at another team’s arena, provided that that team is in a city without a known outbreak.
There are no NBA cities that have a coronavirus situation like Wuhan, China; Daegu, South Korea or Milan, Italy for now. But the Bay Area in California has placed restrictions on group gatherings in some jurisdictions. The Golden State Warriors have been under growing pressure to cancel games but have continued to hold games with fans for now.
I honestly think moving games to neutral cities is a bad option, whether there are fans attending those games or not. If anything, like Fred Katz of The Athletic said below, that could exacerbate the spread of the coronavirus. It should be no surprise if a current NBA player or staffer had exposure to Coronavirus ... or worse, even if he or she never gets symptoms.
Encouraging a bunch of people who live where coronavirus is prevalent to travel to places where it’s not prevalent sounds like a great way to spread it to places where it’s not prevalent.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) March 11, 2020
There are more options on the table as well. These options include playing games without fans to suspending the season indefinitely. The latter option is however not easy to do because the United States is behind other countries (such as South Korea and Italy) with public testing, according to Wojnarowski’s article.
As numerous reports have indicated, though coronavirus is contagious, the vast majority of people who contract it are at little risk of dying unless they are elderly and/or have other health conditions. But that’s not exactly heartwarming news.
Although NBA players aren’t senior citizens, there are many fans who attend games, some of whom are seniors. And the same goes for school systems and colleges. So even if children don’t get sick from coronavirus, they can still spread it to others, including senior citizens who are prone to it.
As of March 10, there are 22 reported cases of coronavirus in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. This probably means that the Washington area doesn’t have a Covid-19 breakout just yet, but again, there also hasn’t been much public testing. That’s just based on the numbers from The Washington Post, where there are about 1,000 known cases in the United States.
Of those cases, they tend to be concentrated in Washington State, California and New York at the moment. That said, I fully anticipate these numbers to rise nationwide, including here in the D.C. area.
At any rate, numerous colleges and universities have decided to move to online only instruction in the coming weeks, which a WTOP-FM article indicated. It is also possible that public school systems may transition to a period of remote-only instruction, including Fairfax County Public Schools in Northern Virginia.
For those of you not familiar with where Fairfax County is, it is the largest jurisdiction in Virginia (about 1.15 million people) which surrounds Arlington County and Alexandria City, the Virginia suburbs that directly border D.C.
We will certainly keep you informed if and when the NBA makes a decision regarding future games. Do you think the games should continue on as scheduled? Should games only be played in front of empty stands? Or do you think the NBA should suspend its season until further notice? A poll is below (which expires on Friday, March 13 at 12 p.m. ET), and let us know in the comments.
How should the NBA address its remaining game schedule due to the coronavirus?
This poll is closed
No changes. Operate with a "business as usual" mentality.
Play all games as scheduled, but some games with no fans in cities with a high number of confirmed cases.
Play all games with no fans in both the USA and Canada.
Suspend the NBA season indefinitely. Re-evaluate situation at later date if season/playoffs can move forward.