Time flies by doesn't it? It was early July when 22 NBA teams arrived in Orlando, FL to prepare for the NBA's restart. Many teams had secured their spot in the postseason while others were fighting for their lives.
On July 30, the NBA officially restarted with a lot on the line. Fans questioned the move made by Commissioner Adam Silver to move 22 teams to one location, and many wondered how long the league could last under these circumstances. How could the NBA succeed in Florida, where virus cases have skyrocketed? But almost a month after play has resumed, the bubble has indeed worked.
Here are the facts. The NBA has conducted five consecutive tests of more than a thousand players and staff members, and they have all come back negative. For the most part, players have been extremely complaisant when it comes to the daily testing process conducted by the NBA, and seem to be wearing masks when they aren't playing basketball.
One concern that was brought up before the bubble was the matter of inconclusive testing. In other words, what would happen if a player tested positive, but that test was false. Dr. Jon Cohen, who heads the bubble testing, has stated that the chances of a false test result are less than 5%. This is because a player will get tested again and again, like in all medicine, leading to a "multilayered process" done by the NBA, that they are very certain could prevent any false results.
While league officials can't stress enough the importance of social distancing and masks, the routine protocol, what is really key is the daily testing being done, which brings back results within 12 to 15 hours. The daily testing routine goes like this. Each player when they wake up, will log into "NBA MyHealth", an app specifically designed for the players inside the bubble. Each player answers a list of questions pertaining to possible symptoms; a fever, muscle soreness, etc. The player will then take their temperature using a Kinsa Smart Thermometer which sends the results back into the app.
If a player's recorded temperature is under 100 degrees, and their blood oxygen levels are good, they are ready to go. To add on to the bubble's well designed plan, there are multiple checkpoints around the campus in which NBA players must swipe their "Disney Magic Band" in order to gain access to various areas. If the swipe comes back "blue", that means the player has not fulfilled his responsibilities of getting checked, or is unhealthy. Whatever the issue is, the checkpoint will address it.
And so the NBA is back, and currently in the first round of the playoffs. The NBA is extremely confident that its handling of the virus will continue to bring back negative test results. Something to watch out for, however, is how the bubble will handle players' families coming to the campus after the first round's conclusion. Will it disrupt the NBA's well designed bubble, or will the NBA continue to be brilliant in its handling of the matter?
Time will tell.