Brooklyn Nets Criticized For Early Access To Coronavirus Testing
The Brooklyn Nets said in a statement on Wednesday that several players and staff had been experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus prompting testing for the virus.
This statement from the team came on the heels of a public outcry about NBA players having access to very limited testing resources, while the general public, even those who are critically ill, are struggling to get tested. After the Net’s announcement on Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took shots at the team’s ability to get tested so quickly.
“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,” de Blasio tweeted Tuesday. “Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”
The Nets said in their statement that they used a private company and paid for those tests themselves because they didn’t want to impact the access to the public resources of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
“Using the test results, we were able to take immediate precautions and strictly isolate the players who tested positive,” the statement continued. “If we had waited for players to exhibit symptoms, they might have continued to pose a risk to their family, friends and the public. Our hope is that by drawing attention to the critical need for testing asymptomatic positive carriers, we can begin to contain the spread and save lives.”
The team has confirmed that four players on the Nets have been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus. Three of these players were asymptomatic. One of these players is Nets’ All-Star forward Kevin Durant.
On Tuesday night, in response to the testing criticism, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass told ESPN that there has been worry over player contact with the public.
“Public health authorities and team doctors have been concerned that, given NBA players’ direct contact with each other and close interactions with the general public, in addition to their frequent travel, they could accelerate the spread of the virus,” Bass said. “Following two players testing positive last week, others were tested and five additional players tested positive. Hopefully, by these players choosing to make their test results public, they have drawn attention to the critical need for young people to follow CDC recommendations in order to protect others, particularly those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.”
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