Amid Coronavirus Test Shortages, How Did the Utah Jazz Test 58 People So Quickly?
The team contained a higher risk for spreading the virus, thanks to their travel schedule
After two Utah Jazz players tested positive for coronavirus, the Oklahoma State Department of Health tested 58 people, including players and team personnel. That seemed prudent at the time, except for one thing: coronavirus tests are not widely available in the United States. So how did the Jazz receive so many so quickly?
According to USA Today, the decision from the OKDH, who called it a “public health decision” brought on by Rudy Gobert’s positive diagnosis; Gobert was the first high-profile athlete based in the United States to receive a diagnosis. (He also took a lot of heat online for a press conference where he jokingly touched all the mics just days before his diagnosis.)
While it could have been safe to assume that the Jazz used their considerable financial power as an NBA team to procure the tests, Rishi Desai, “the chief medical officer and pediatric infectious disease physician for Osmosis, a digital platform for learning medicine and the health sciences,” said it’s more due to the reality that a traveling team of professional athletes fall into the “super-spread” category of possibly infected individuals:
The average person is not exposing as many other people as a super spreader. Whenever there’s an outbreak and you know you have these potential super spreaders who have the potential to be around a lot of people, you want to really get on top of that situation.
According to a secondary report, Oklahoma still has 250 coronavirus test kits available, which means the Jazz used roughly 20 percent of the states’ reserves. This caused alarm once it was announced the entire Jazz organization had gotten tested, but the explanation presented by Desai makes sense to help curb the spread of the disease, particularly as the Jazz had been traveling before their stop in Oklahoma City to play the Thunder.
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