The National Basketball Association (NBA) has advised their players to eschew physical contact with fans as a precautionary measure to avoid the spread of coronavirus throughout the organization and the United States. The memo released by the NBA suggests that players opt for fist-bumps instead of high-fives and avoid taking items to autograph, according to ESPN. Additionally, audiences for non-competitive events such as combines and workouts might be limited to essential personnel only – all decisions will be based on the trajectory of viral spread.
Other recommendations included instructing players to “wash [their] hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds” and to “avoid touching [their] eyes, nose, and mouth.” The memo, also informational, lists symptoms of the virus and what to do if infected. Any player who contracts the virus is expected to miss two weeks, a medical official told ESPN. “The coronavirus remains a situation with the potential to change rapidly—the NBA and the players’ association will continue to work with leading experts and team physicians to provide up-to-date information and recommended practices that should be followed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” the memo read, according to the AP. There are a few examples of players already heeding the NBA’s advice. New York Knicks forward Bobby Portis simply repeated the phrase “corona” as he fist-bumped fans in the crowd during the game against the Houston Rockets Monday night, according to ESPN.
“I’m pretty sure I’m still going to sign some autographs, but maybe I’ll just walk around with my own marker,” said Celtics forward Kemba Walker. At the moment, the league does not plan to suspend travel or postpone any regular season games. “The health and safety of our employees, teams, players and fans is paramount. We are coordinating with our teams and consulting with the CDC and infectious disease specialists on the coronavirus and continue to monitor the situation closely,” the NBA told the AP.
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