As the OKC Thunder prepares for the NBA restart the continual Florida coronavirus spike remains a concern.
With COVID-19 cases rising in Florida the OKC Thunder players and their peers continue to learn more each day about what life in the Disney bubble will be like.
Clearly the hot topic at the moment is the concerning sharp spike in cases in Florida and how that dynamic could affect players’ decisions to opt-out. Although the cut-off was June 24th that date isn’t definitive. A truer deadline would be this Wednesday, July 1st which is the date team’s need to submit their rosters to the league
Florida remains a hot spot in the United States and is aligning closer to the numbers New York experienced early in the pandemic. Just a week ago, TI noted how concerning the spike in Florida cases was and at that time the numbers were in the 3200 to 4050 range.
OKC Thunder and peers keep an eye on Florida
The 5,452 cases on June 23rd however, show the situation is getting worse. The numbers registered June 26th through June 27th (8,813 / 9,557 / 8,424) are alarming. Although the new cases noted on June 28th were back down to 5,409 it should be noted testing was also nearly 30,000 less than the three previous days.
Moreover, the percent of positive cases on the 28th was higher than the three positive days. Specifically, June 23rd was the highest with 15.85 percent, while the 25th through 27th was in the high 12 percent range with the 27th the lowest at 12.21 percent and the 28th increasing to 13.67 percent. Click this link for a chart detailing the situation in Florida.
In the media call this weekend, Adam Silver acknowledged there is no outrunning the pandemic and this is what the NBA (and the world) will be living with for the foreseeable future. Silver noted while the bubble is not impermeable the league and NBPA have done the due diligence to ensure the campus setting at Walt Disney World is as safe as possible.
While the association continues to monitor the situation the Toronto Raptors may serve as the test example. Tim Bontemps’ article on ESPN highlights how the Raptors can provide insight into the Orlando bubble since they are in essence in a smaller test sample.
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With the Raptors market being in Canada the province of Ontario lagged behind the States in their re-opening efforts.
Additionally, given the border requirements it meant players could have to undergo two separate quarantine situations; one when players returned to Toronto and again when they re-entered the States. Ontario launched phase two of reopening the community two days after the Raptors flew to Florida.
Moving forward, the league will keep a close eye on Florida and what occurs with the Raptors and the two Florida teams (Heat and Magic) as they inch closer to the time all teams will travel to the bubble. There are those who believe the players could be safer in the bubble than they would in their own communities given the steps being made to isolate them.
The fact Disney employees will be coming and going is likely the greatest concern because Disney employees are unionized so testing can’t be enforced. However, Silver did say the league is negotiating with Disney brass to address these concerns.
It still feels like the best scenario would be to have Disney employees working the bubble also stay on the campus. I’m not sure if that is realistic given the union.
As per our previous article, the OKC Thunder will travel to Orlando on July 8th and be housed in The Grand Floridian.
For now, like the league and players, we keep our eye on Florida with the hope the numbers decrease and everyone stays safe.