The coronavirus pandemic remains a major disrupting factor in the NBA this season, especially in recent days because of a current surge of coronavirus cases among players and staff. They haven’t affected the Washington Wizards yet, except for Kyle Kuzma, who missed two games last week due to the league’s protocols. But the Wizards and every other NBA team have agreed to a new set of rules for the next few weeks.
Last Thursday, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that all players and staff will have game day testing for two weeks, beginning on Dec. 26. Everyone must wear face masks during travel, at workout facilities and while sitting on the bench. Players and head coaches don’t have to wear masks during gameplay.
While case counts are going up considerably within the NBA, elsewhere in sports (the Washington Football Team’s upcoming game this Sunday was postponed due to a high number of players testing positive for the coronavirus), and the world in general, don’t expect to see the NBA cancel games.
Ninety-seven percent of the league’s players are vaccinated and a growing percentage of players will have their boosters when their time comes around. Every staff member is required to be vaccinated and boosted when eligible. The new omicron variant is better able to infect people who had prior COVID-19 infections or vaccinations. But omicron still has a difficult time infecting those who received booster shots, in particular those from Pfizer or Moderna.
Since players especially are generally in great physical health, they are not likely to end up in the hospital if they get the coronavirus. But it could affect other immunocompromised people through transmission by NBA players.
Currently, the Toronto Raptors are the only NBA team affected by government measures from a capacity standpoint, where the Ontario provincial government limited capacity to 50 percent starting today. Locally in Washington, there are no restrictions for any indoor activities or a face mask mandate for fans, but the situation can change if hospitalization numbers move up in the coming weeks.
Is the NBA doing the right thing with their new testing rules? Should the D.C. government implement tighter rules on indoor events, especially as we head toward the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below.