U.S. Shows Workers Can Return to Work Safely – If they are NBA Players!

Portland Trail Blazers play the Dallas Mavericks on Aug. 11, 2020 in Orlando Disney Resort. (Kim Klement/AP)

The National Basketball Association, along with the millionaires and billionaires who own the teams, and the mega corporations that invest in sponsorship, all decided that too much money would be lost if the NBA season was not able to resume. So they told health experts to organize the safest way for basketball players to finish out the season, and after spending about $200 million, it is working.

The NBA has taken over the Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Upon arrival, all players, coaches, staff, and reporters were immediately tested for COVID-19 and then isolated in their own individual hotel rooms until they tested negative two days in a row. At that point they were allowed to roam around the facility, but could not leave the protected resort area.

Everyone was given a $300 Oura ring – a titanium ring with biometric sensors that continuously monitor a person’s body temperature, heart rate, oxygen level and more. The ring can scan for signs of a possible immune system reaction. Health experts believe this ring can catch any sign of possible infection very early on.

Additionally, players are tested every single day and test results are back within 24 hours. Masks are worn throughout the facility. Areas of the facility are sectioned off with temperature-monitoring checkpoints. Everyone who works inside the facility is tested daily and provided with protective equipment. Essentially any sign of possible infection can be immediately identified and proper isolation can be carried out in order to minimize the risk of infection.

Players were allowed to opt-out of participation and still receive most of their pay. And any player with medical conditions that put him at a greater risk of a severe case of COVID-19 has been exempted from participating with no cut in pay.

The facility has been in operation for over a month with all 22 participating teams and staff present. Official games resumed on August 1. So far, no one has tested positive for the virus.

This is not a surprise. It is no mystery what kind of precautions are necessary to reduce the spread of this virus. All of these precautions have been carried out, not because the NBA is a truly essential industry that the people need to survive. Nor has it been carried out so sports fans can still have something to look forward to during this pandemic. No. The only reason this monumental reorganization of basketball has taken place is because the NBA was going to lose over a billion dollars in revenue if the season did not resume.

Meanwhile, most workers in the U.S. haven’t even been tested once, let alone tested every day before going to work. If we do get tested, the results can take up to two weeks, at which point they are totally useless. Most workers can’t even get an N-95 mask or eye protection, so forget about a $300 Oura ring. And workers in higher risk categories have just been treated like everyone else: show up to work or lose your job.

It’s great that NBA players have been able to resume their work safely, taking into account every possible precaution to keep them healthy. And that’s how it should be for all workers.