Could this new change to the protocols help the NBA get back on track?
According to the latest report from ESPN, vaccinated NBA players and coaches who were infected by the coronavirus only need to quarantine for six days provided they are asymptomatic and tests show they are no longer a risk to spread the bug. This is a change to previous league protocol, which used to require 10 days’ isolation, and it reflects a similar update to guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to five days, if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others,” the CDC said in a statement.
NBA players and coaching staff can further shorten their quarantine time by producing two sets of tests taken 24 hours apart that confirm negative results. Hopefully, these amendments will curb the spate of rosters’ depletion throughout the league, particularly with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN correspondent Malika Andrews that sweeping changes to the schedule make no sense for the time being, even though Omicron reportedly accounts for up to 90% of new cases in the league. “No plans right now to pause the season,” he said on NBA Today. “We’ve, of course, looked at all the options. But frankly, we’re having trouble coming up with what the logic would be behind pausing right now. As we look through these cases literally ripping through the country right now… I think we’re finding ourselves where we knew we were going to get to.”
Clubs have resorted to the services of ex-players, bringing them on via 10-day hardship deals, and there have been numerous “blasts from the past” back on the hardwood. Lance Stephenson, Joe Johnson, and Isaiah Thomas are just a few of the old names who returned to the NBA thanks to these circumstances. And as new incidences of COVID-19 infections rise, expect all manners of players to take a crack at balling for the NBA.
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