On Thursday, July 30, the NBA season will restart in Orlando after shutting down early in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The New Orleans Pelicans will face the Utah Jazz before the two Los Angeles team – the Clippers and the Lakers – showcase what may be an early glimpse at a Western Conference Finals series. The restart could serve as a model for reopening sports nationwide, as so far, the quarantined area of Disney World where the teams are staying has proven to halt the spread of the virus.
A day before, the NBA announced a total of zero positive COVID-19 cases out of 344 tests conducted as of July 27. Players, coaches and staff began their months-long journey in the Disney World bubble on July 10, where they must remain until they’ve been eliminated from playoff contention. Apart from a few violations of the strict quarantine rules, the vast majority of team personnel have abided by the rules and have set themselves up for a successful season restart of basketball.
The first cases of NBA players contracting COVID-19 became public in early March, and the NBA quickly suspended their season on March 11. While some players who’ve tested positive were released publicly, others remained private ahead of players entering the bubble on July 10. Overall, there were 16 active cases of COVID-19 in late June. After weeks of consistent testing and quarantining, that number went down to zero by July 20, and the NBA hopes to keep it there as they move forward with the season.