As COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, sweeps across the U.S., testing kits needed to identify the illness have been in dismally short supply. But the NBA seemed to have no problem this week getting 58 testing kits in one day.
On Wednesday, the NBA announced it was suspending its season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The discovery set off a chain of events leading to the dramatic cancellation of a game just before tipoff and a wave of other sports institutions announcing their own season suspensions.
On Thursday, 58 people in Oklahoma ― a group of Utah Jazz players, coaching staff and local journalists ― were tested for the virus. Only one other person, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, was found to have the virus. The Daily Beast was the first to ask how the NBA was able to get its hands on so many tests amid a widespread shortage:
A powerful, wealthy pro sports league flexed the political capital and financial might required to get government officials to spring into action. The unintentional byproduct, though, is another, equally jarring number: 7,617 people in total have been tested for the virus by state labs as of Thursday, and those 58 tests, or a staggering .8 percent, were conducted on employees of one professional basketball team.
Oklahoma Health Commissioner Gary Cox said Thursday that the state currently has the “capacity to run about 100 tests a day.” That means those associated with the NBA got roughly 60 percent of the state’s daily testing, The Daily Beast noted.
There are currently two known active cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma, but that number is expected to go up. Representatives for the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma Department of Health did not immediately respond to questions from HuffPost.
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