It’s a good time to be a professional basketball propagandist.
No case of coronavirus on nearly 350 players, the union of NBA players trumpeted in a press release dated 20 July. So a second consecutive week without COVID and a second consecutive victory lap.
They are doing so well, in fact, that they now have test kits to spare. The league, through its NBA Together charity arm, will provide free tests in Orlando, the host city of the bubble, and elsewhere across the country.
Awesome news, right? Shortages of testing in Florida and across the nation have been well documented, although the pandemic has started to “get worse before it gets better”, in the words of some citrus dick head. At first glance, the NBA’s profound contribution to this mess seems like a wonderful and welcome act of altruism. Definitely also the very cynical between us should give props where they are due.
The NBA has started to move his team vulgarity in town on July 7th. What followed was actually three weeks of radio silence. It wasn’t until July 29 that the league chose to announce its grand charity gesture. They are 22 days of well-fed seeds sitting on their hands while chaos cried a pestilence.
Here’s what happened to the NBA host state over that 22-day period:
Of course he could have used those tests a couple of weeks ago.
The league also omitted one crucial detail from its announcement: delivery time.
Florida, with its disproportionately large number of elderly residents, takes between 7 and 10 days to process a test. Sometimes even more.
The danger here is obvious. Infected, asymptomatic or symptom-free residents are carriers of walking disease. Every day that they are unaware of a diagnosis could be a daily problem with face-to-face interactions, with each of those interactions representing a possible route of transmission.
Meanwhile, NBA players – young, relatively low-risk athletes in optimal physical condition – receive test results in a mind-boggling From 12 to 15 hours. It’s about 15 times faster than the general public.
You can have all the test kits in the world at your disposal. But if you’re taking two weeks to process those tests, they are barely useful at all. A week can make the difference between life and death, especially for those over 50 and others with existing medical complications.
Will the NBA philanthropy mean a faster turnaround for Florida residents? It is not clear, but don’t hope. This announcement, as far as Florida is concerned, amounts to little more than damage control from PR.
While there are, however, they should send some test kits to Hong Kong.