The 2019-20 NBA season will be suspended for 30 days until a reassessment of the dangers around the Coronavirus has been completed. The season was suspended on Wednesday night due to the Coronavirus outbreak after Utah Jazz All-Star center Rudy Gobert tested positive ahead of a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
More Positive Tests in the NBA
On Thursday, things got worse as Gobert’s teammate Donovan Mitchell also tested positive. Later in the afternoon, the NBA owners met and have decided to keep their players and personnel off the court and out of the arenas for 30 days, per Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports.
In the week following Gobert and Mitchell’s positive test, other players in the NBA such as the Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart, Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant, Detroit Pistons’ Christian Woods, and multiple members of the Philadelphia 76ers organization have also tested positive for the Coronavirus.
Based on personal accounts, none of the players who have spoken publicly are experiencing any of the symptoms.
Unprecedented Territory in the NBA and in Sports
This is the first time in league or major sports organization history that a season of play has been suspended due to a pandemic. The spread of the coronavirus, which originated in China, has been so rapid that leagues and other organizers have moved to nullify the spread of the virus with a variety of precautions.
Some have elected to go forward with events, but they are barring fans from attending, and others have followed the NBA’s lead and canceled competitions and gatherings altogether. Major League Soccer and several college conferences have canceled or postponed their seasons or postseason tournaments, and the virus has forced the NCAA to cancel the NCAA Tournament. Also, the start of the Major League Baseball season, which is scheduled for March 29, might be delayed.
The virus is considered a major danger even though the fatality rate is under 4 percent and the deaths have been almost exclusively isolated to the chronically ill and/or elderly.
Health organizations are advising people wash their hands regularly and to exercise more caution when making physical contact with others. The entire Jazz team has been quarantined and players on other NBA squads are taking different precautions according to their level of contact with Gobert and Mitchell’s team, the officials who worked their games, and more. There is a hope the NBA can either resume their regular season in 30 days or head directly into its postseason, which starts annually in April and runs into the first week in June.
If the major dangers surrounding the virus have been controlled, the NBA and other sports leagues may be able to return to action. If not, the status of sports across the world will be reassessed moving forward.