In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, the National Basketball Association (NBA) has passed a memo to its teams with recommendations to safeguard against the dreaded epidemic.
ESPN noted that the memo advised the players against taking items such as balls and jerseys to autograph. They also noted the possibility of a reduction in international scouting events and on-site workouts.
The NBA issued a statement to the Associated Press (AP) regarding the health and safety of the players. “The health and safety of our employees, teams, players, and fans is paramount. We are coordinating with our teams and consulting with the CDC and infectious disease specialists on the coronavirus and continue to monitor the situation closely,” the statement read.
Amidst the outbreak, Portland Trail Blazers’ CJ McCollum tweeted the need to take precautions.
The Corona Virus has officially hit Oregon. More specifically Lake Oswego…Make sure y’all washing y’all hands with soap for 20 or more seconds & covering ya mouths when you cough. I am officially taking a break from signing autographs until further notice.
— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) February 29, 2020
Meanwhile, Boston Celtics’ Kemba Walker did not completely rule out signing autographs although he said that he would be cautious. “I’m pretty sure I’m still going to sign some autographs, but maybe I’ll just walk around with my own marker,” he said.
The first reported death due to coronavirus alerted NBA & other leagues across the US
This came immediately after the first reported case of the novel coronavirus in the United States of America. On Saturday, the Governor of Washington declared a state of emergency after a 50-year old individual died of COVID-19.
While this is the first case of coronavirus in America, around 50 more people are sick with the virus being the suspected reason.
“Over 50 individuals associated with Life Care are reportedly ill with respiratory symptoms or hospitalized with pneumonia or other respiratory conditions of unknown cause and are being tested for COVID-19,” Seattle and King County officials told AP. “Additional positive cases are expected.”
Apart from the NBA, other major North American professional sports leagues are taking measures to counter the outbreak. The AP reported that officials from the NBA, NHL, and MLB are all consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations on a regular basis about COVID-19.