As time goes on, the number of celebrities and athletes testing positive for coronavirus will increase, putting a recognizable face on the disease that has brought life around the globe to a virtual standstill.
Just in the last week, we have heard about Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, actor Idris Elba and NBA players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell.
On Tuesday, we learned of another, one of the great players in the NBA.
Kevin Durant is one of four Brooklyn Nets players to test positive for the virus.
“Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine,” Durant told The Athletic. “We’re going to get through this.”
The Nets did not identify any of players, saying instead only one is exhibiting symptoms. Durant said he was feeling fine and is confident he’ll be fine. Meanwhile, all four players are isolated and undergoing medical care from team physicians.
“We wish them a speedy recovery. But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted.
Sources told ESPN some Nets players were tested by a private company and the team paid for it after it returned from San Francisco. The Los Angeles Lakers were scheduled to be tested Wednesday since they were the last team to play the Nets before the league suspended operations.
After Gobert tested positive last Wednesday, a diagnosis that set into motion the suspension or cancellation of tournaments, leagues and events worldwide, the Utah Jazz were tested before leaving Oklahoma City. And that’s how it was discovered Mitchell was infected. Both Mitchell and Gobert have also said they feel OK. Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons has also tested positive for the virus.
How the Nets became infected is not currently known. They did not play the Jazz or the Pistons in the two weeks prior to the NBA’s suspension. But the Nets are contacting anyone who’s been in contact with the players and are working with state and local health authorities to figure out the next step.
“All players and members of the Nets travel party are being asked to remain isolated, closely monitor their health and maintain constant communication with team medical staff,” the Nets said in a statement. “The health of our players and staff is of the highest priority to the organization, and the team is doing everything within its power to ensure that those affected receive the best care possible.”
Word of the Nets positive test quickly made its way around the NBA.
“I saw that news,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said on a conference call of the Nets’ positive tests. “I’m hoping none of our players went and hung out with guys the night before our game. I don’t know if that’s the case or not.”
Nets interim coach Jacque Vaughn was asked last week about any the preventive measures his team had been taking.
“Overall, I think we’ve been cognizant of the direction that we’ve been given as far as washing your hands, being as sanitary as you possibly can in any situation,” Vaughn told the media before the game in Los Angeles against the Lakers last week.
“And so our food rooms have more sanitizer in it whether it’s before the game, after the game, today the popcorn was individually wrapped, not the go-for-it-everybody bag. So there’s just little things they’re being smart about, and I think overall I’ve probably washed my hands more and longer. A little drier from the sanitizer, but besides that really not trying to touch my face is a big one.”
The NBA announced last week its season would be suspended for a minimum of 30 days. That recommendation now appears to have been conservative. Mid-June is now considered likely for a resumption, something that would take the NBA playoffs into late summer.
National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts told USA Today on Tuesday she expects more league players to test positive.
“I was mortified any of our players would test positive. But the more I learned about the likelihood of fatalities among all of us given our ages and pre-existing conditions, I have learned to embrace the probability that many of our players will be positive for the virus,” Roberts said.
“They want to understand exactly what the health risks are. So whatever information we can impart, we do. We are (as) vigilant as we can and try to update them.”
In a related event, the NHL reported Tuesday the discovery of their first player testing positive for the virus. He’s a member of the Ottawa Senators.
The Senators did not release the player’s identity, saying only he had mild symptoms and was being held in isolation.
“The Ottawa Senators are in the process of notifying anyone who has had known close contact with the athlete and are working with our team doctors and public health officials,” the team said in a statement. “As a result of this positive case, all members of the Ottawa Senators are requested to remain isolated, to monitor their health and seek advice from our team medical staff.”
The NHL also suspended its season last week. On Monday, it encouraged its players to return home, asking only that they self-quarantine when they arrived.