Takeaways from the informative Steph Curry and Dr. Anthony Fauci coronavirus Q&A

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What we learned from informative Steph Curry-Dr. Fauci coronavirus Q&A

Logan Murdock | NBC SPORTS

Warriors guard Steph Curry usually relays messages from the comfort of a controlled press conference.

Curry did so from his couch Thursday morning, interviewing Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, on Instagram Live to shed light on the pandemic-causing COVID-19.

The idea of the 30-minute interview was cultivated last week, according to a league source, following Fauci’s appearance on Barstool Sports’ Pardon My Take podcast. David Schwab  — executive vice president of sports management company Octagon, which represents Curry– called on athletes to use their platforms to interview figures like Fauci.

Following Schwab’s tweet, Curry’s representatives reached out to Schwab, who acted as an intermediary between Curry’s team and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The idea was to target young people who aren’t getting their news from cable news channels.

Fauci discussed a number of topics during the interview, including testing and social distancing. The United States has over 80,000 confirmed cases as of Thursday, according to The Wall Street Journal. The NBA suspended its season earlier this month after Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.

Many initially thought the coronavirus carried similar symptoms and risks as the flu, Fauci said Thursday the coronavirus has shown to be  “10 times” worse than influenza.

“It’s similar in that it’s a respiratory illness that’s transmitted by the respiratory route,” Fauci said. “It gives a degree of pathology that it’s very, very much more transmissible than flu and more importantly, it’s significantly more serious.”

The number of coronavirus cases nationwide is disputed due to limited access to testing equipment. On Thursday’s chat, Fauci said that more tests are expected to be available with the help of private labs.  

“That’s been a real issue early on,” Fauci said. “Several weeks ago we were not in a place we wanted to be or needed to be.”

“Right now there are literally hundreds of thousands of tests out there,” he added. “Mostly because we got the private sector involved.”

The coronavirus can cause respiratory problems, including cough, fever, shortness of breath and, more severely, pneumonia. While elders and people with weak immune systems typically are more susceptible, Fauci said younger patients should beware of the virus as well.

“Very heavily weighted towards the elderly and those underlying conditions,” he said. “ … Those are the people who have a higher degree of mortality,” he said. “But what we are starting to see is people who are younger … who don’t have any underlying conditions, who are getting seriously ill. It’s still a very small minority, but it doesn’t mean that young people like yourself should say, ‘I’m completely exempt from any risks of getting seriously ill.’ “

States have begun implementing social distancing measures in recent weeks to encourage citizens to stay at home in order to limit the coronavirus’ spread. California Governor Gavin Newsom ordered residents to stay in their homes and closed non-essential businesses last week in an effort to “flatten the curve” of the virus’ impact on hospitals and public-health systems.

Fauci expressed optimism about beating the coronavirus if citizens continue to practice social distancing.

“If we really push, we hope we will know by the time we get to next winter whether or not we have something that works,” Fauci said. “Vaccines are going to be important for next time around, not for what we’re dealing with now.”

Barack Obama comments in Steph Curry’s coronavirus Q&A with Dr. Fauci

Drew Shiller | NBC SPORTS

On Thursday morning, Warriors superstar Steph Curry hosted a coronavirus Q&A via Instagram with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Did Barack Obama — the 44th president of the United States — participate in the session?

You bet he did.

One of Obama’s comments: “Listen to the science. Do your part and take care of each other. Thank you, Steph and Dr. Fauci.”

Former Warriors forward Andre Iguodala made sure to check in on the event as well.

Great stuff all the way around.

Dr. Fauci tells Steph Curry how sports could return amid coronavirus

Dalton Johnson | NBC SPORTS

Amid the NBA coming to a halt during the coronavirus pandemic, Steph Curry continues to have his most meaningful assists off the court.

He did so again Thursday when he held a Q&A on Instagram Live with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as a lead member of the White House’s coronavirus taskforce. Thousands upon thousands of people tuned into the talk, including former President Barack Obama.

Curry himself asked Fauci what kind of numbers the doctor is looking at, and what needs to be done in order for sports can return to play. 

“What you need is to see the trajectory of the curve start to come down,” Fauci explained. “We’ve seen that in China. They went up and down and are starting to get back to some normal life. They have to be careful they don’t re-introduce the virus back into China. But they’re on the other side of the curve. Korea is starting to do that, they’re starting to come down. Europe, particularly Italy, are in a terrible situation. They’re still going way up.

“The United States is a big country. We have so many different regions — like New York City right now is having a terrible time, and yet there are places in the country that are really doing quite well. … So a direct answer to your question, we can start think about getting back to some degree of normality when the country as a whole has turned that corner and starts coming down.

“Then you can pinpoint cases much more easily than getting overwhelmed by cases, which is what’s going on in New York City.” 

Dr. Fauci did not give a timeline or date of when he believes the NBA or any other sport can continue play. 

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus on Wednesday, March 11. Commissioner Adam Silver immediately suspended the season. Nine other players, including Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, have tested positive since then. The league has every intention of resuming play at some point, though, no date has been set. 

Curry has been vocal in this time of need, preaching the practice of social distancing. He and Warriors coach Steve Kerr have used their platforms to reach as many people as possible in order to make sure we’re all responsible and looking out for each other. 

As of this publishing, there have been 68,827 known cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 1,009 deaths, according to NBC News.

Karl-Anthony Towns Reveals His Mother Is In a Coma As a Result of the Coronavirus: ‘This Disease Is Real’

Jay Connor | THE ROOT

It’s been exactly two weeks since NBA All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, sending the entire league into a tailspin and suspending operations indefinitely. In the time since, players have poured themselves into video games, social media, and other distractions, while others have tried their best to circumvent the pandemic or have been forced to face it head-on.

Among those directly affected by this crisis is Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns, who took to his YouTube channel on Tuesday night to reveal that his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, has been placed in a medically-induced coma as a result of the virus.

“I was told early last week my parents weren’t feeling well,” he said in the video. “My first reaction to [my mom] was to go seek medical attention immediately. […] And after a couple of days of not showing any signs of improvement, I was very adamant on the first day to go to a hospital and seek further evaluation.”

He added, “She kept getting worse, she kept getting worse, and the hospital was doing everything they can.”

He noted that she was unable to break her fever from 103 degrees, and her condition continued to deteriorate until she recently appeared to be on the mend.

“She was feeling great,” Towns said. “We talked, and she felt she turned the corner. […] I knew there was more days to come, but I felt that we were heading in the right direction. They said that she went sideways, and things had went sideways, quick. And her lungs were extremely getting worse, and she was having trouble breathing and they were just explaining to me that she had to be put on a ventilator. And she was getting worse, and she was confused by everything, and I’m trying to talk to her about everything and encourage and stay positive, just talk through everything with her.”

He continued, “She’s been in a medically induced coma. Since that day, I haven’t talked to her, haven’t been able to obviously communicate with her,” Towns said. “I’ve just been getting updates on her condition. It’s rough, and day by day we’re just seeing how it goes. We’re being positive; I’m being very positive.”

Since making his shocking admission, friends, fans, and players alike have offered words of encouragement to the 24-year-old.

Earlier this month, Towns donated $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic to help increase the number of tests that it could administer daily from 200 to 1,000. And in light of his mother’s diagnosis, the two-time NBA All-Star remains committed to ensuring that everyone understands the severity of this ongoing pandemic.

“This disease needs to not be taken lightly. Please protect your families, your loved ones, your friends, yourself. Practice social distancing. Please don’t be in places with a lot of people. […] It’s deadly. And we’re going to keep fighting on my side, me and my family, we’re going to keep fighting this. We’re going to beat it. We’re going to win.”

You can watch the video in its entirety below.

New York governor delivers funny but spot-on rant on playing basketball amid COVID-19

Henry McKenna | USA TODAY SPORTS

Don’t go play pickup basketball.

You may be stressed. You may feel pent-up. But now is not the time to get together with friends for a game of hoops — not during the COVID-19 pandemic which has most states asking their citizens to self-quarantine or maintain social distancing.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo seemed displeased with his state’s response to the coronavirus, particularly when it came to people continuing to play basketball amid this crisis.

“I play basketball,” he said. “There’s no concept of social distancing while playing basketball. It doesn’t exist. You can’t stay six feet away from a person while playing basketball. You can, but then you’re a lousy basketball player and you’re going to lose. You just cannot do that.”

Cuomo makes a funny but solid point about how social distancing and a game of hoops don’t mix.

Meanwhile, in California…

Let’s do better, folks.

Warriors’ Bob Myers on testing: “We’re treating ourselves like people. We’re not better than anybody.”

BASKETBALL NETWORK

NYC mayor Bill de Blasio put the NBA under the spotlight with a tweet criticizing the fact the Brooklyn Nets all got tested as a precaution while there are critically ill patients waiting still waiting for their tests. Nets and Thunder officials defended their organizations by saying they got the tests in private facilities and paid out of pocket, not to burden the public healthcare system.

Your mileage may vary with this explanation, but there are other ways of doing things, and the Golden State Warriors are proof. The Warriors were scheduled to play the Nets in San Francisco on the night the league suspended the season. The game didn’t happen, but it’s possible that players from both teams spent time together that night, mainly because Kevin Durant was in town with the Nets. Durant and several other Brooklyn players tested positive, meaning the Warriors can reasonably suspect they could be infected.

But unlike other NBA teams, the Warriors didn’t test anyone yet. As recommended by public health officials, particularly in a time where testing is in low supply, the Warriors are not testing asymptomatic team members or staff (asymptomatic means they are not presenting any symptoms of the disease: fever, tiredness, cough, shortness of breath.) Everyone is put in self-isolation and has to monitor for these symptoms; they get tested only if they start experiencing several of those.

“We’ve been told that the testing is in short supply and we’re treating ourselves like people, which is what we are. We’re not better than anybody, not worse. Just a basketball team. … I’ve been told by our doctors, medical community, we shouldn’t be testing asymptomatic people at this point in California. … We’ve been told there’s not enough tests to do that.”

Bob Myers, via The Athletic

In translation, once Gobert tested positive, everyone who was in contact could’ve gone into self-isolation as soon as possible and monitor their symptoms. If they show symptoms within two weeks, they get a test and find out if they have the disease. That way, they are responsible towards themselves, people around them AND the Jazz don’t use up 60% of the state of Oklahoma’s daily testing capability and 20% of their total testing supply at that time. There was a way to do this more responsibility towards the community, but it wasn’t as convenient.

To be fair, Adam Silver was on The Jump last night and addressed this criticism. Silver said that the decision to test all the Jazz players was not made at the request of the Utah Jazz, but by an Oklahoma public health official. The following tests, as explained by Silver, were according to protocols developed with medical experts.

I’m going to take Commissioner Silver at his best and trust him the Jazz had no choice. But for all other testings, the protocol was developed beforehand with medical experts telling them the possibly best case scenario. It was still within the NBA’s right, as we see with the Warriors, to say that only people with symptoms should get tested, and everyone else remains in self-isolation. The NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said she was “disappointed” in the criticism players have been getting for getting tested.

“There’s nothing irresponsible — if you’ve got that information [that you’ve been exposed] — about trying to get the tests.”

Michelle Roberts, via ESPN

If you know some people need tests more than you do, and you are not in critical condition or even presenting any symptoms – yes, it’s irresponsible. Roberts talked about the responsibility of the Federal Government and their failure to make sure there are enough testing capabilities for everyone, and I fully agree with that. That’s the central issue in the United States right now, and no-one should be held responsible as much as those at the top.

But if you talk about your love of fans, appreciating the community you play in, and the importance of everyone taking care of each other, then you can’t pick convenience and be “disappointed” that you are getting criticized. We are capable of saying the Federal Government has failed us, and the NBA in this regard disappointed us. That doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge and appreciate everything else the players and the league did so far. We can hold more than one thought at the same time.

Adam Silver responds, NBPA’s Michele Roberts defends players, critical of government on virus testing

Ramona Shelburne | ESPN

National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said she was “disappointed” in the criticism NBA teams and players have gotten for receiving access to COVID-19 tests and sounded off on who she believes is responsible for the scarcity of public tests in America: the federal government.

“There’s nothing irresponsible — if you’ve got that information [that you’ve been exposed] — about trying to get the tests,” Roberts told ESPN on Wednesday.

“The problem that more of us can’t get the tests — and I’m not apologetic about saying it — in my view, that rests at the foot of the federal government. They were responsible for making sure we were protected in that regard, and I think they failed.

“We shouldn’t be fighting about this now … but once this is done and we get through it, and we will, let’s figure out who screwed up and fix that.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on Wednesday that eight teams had been tested since Utah center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19, and the league suspended its season last Wednesday.

The Brooklyn Nets disclosed Tuesday that four of their players had tested positive for the virus. The Nets had not recently played the Jazz or Detroit Pistons (who have since confirmed a player tested positive) so it was not immediately clear why the Nets had all been tested.

The Nets said in a statement Wednesday that several players and staff were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, prompting the team’s traveling party to get tested for the coronavirus. The Nets said they “sourced the tests through a private company and paid for them ourselves because we did not want to impact access to [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]’s public resources.”

De Blasio blasted the team on Twitter and suggested NBA players were being given preferential treatment because they were rich and had access to better health care than the general population, where there has been frustration over testing protocols and availability.

“We wish them a speedy recovery,” de Blasio said in his tweet. “But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested. Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”

Roberts said she understood the criticism but reiterated her criticism of how the government has handled the crisis.

“I get it,” Roberts said. “People should not be having to wait in line. The at-risk population should be the first to be tested. But god damn it, if the government had done what they were supposed to do, we wouldn’t be competing for an opportunity to be tested.”

Roberts said that public health officials have expressed concern about infected NBA players exposing others to the virus because of the high number of players they come in contact with and how much they travel.

“We were doing games where tens of thousands of people were coming into our arenas. We were exposing potentially a lot of people to being infected,” Roberts said. “I get it. If you’re 65 years old — I’m 64 — and you’re symptomatic and want to get tested, it must be difficult to hear about some young’uns getting tested. I get that. And the players get that. But to the extent that there was some effort to find out just how pervasive our infection was so that people would know.

“To be perfectly candid with you, if I was at the arena in OKC when the announcement was made, when the game was canceled, I would be concerned.

“In many ways, I think it would have been irresponsible for the teams not to test their players and staffers because people in that arena have the right to know if they’d been exposed.”

Roberts said she has advised her players to report any symptoms of the virus to team officials if they come up. She is actively discouraging any stigma from being attached to players who might test positive.

“I’m distressed if any player is distressed about having his name out there,” she said. “There is no stigma attached to testing positive for coronavirus. I’m probably positive for coronavirus if I’m tested. Most of us will. I’m now hearing 50% of the population is probably going to be infected. We need to stop being concerned about there being some stigma about being infected — ‘Oh my God, he’s got the ‘rona.’

“That’s nonsense to worry about that. We need to worry about how we can contain it. My message to the players is, ‘Don’t for one second be embarrassed about it. There’s nothing embarrassing about it. This is not something that suggests you’ve done anything wrong. If you have it, now you know you need to be more careful in terms of your interactions.'”

NBA Managed To Get 58 Coronavirus Tests Despite Massive Shortage

Testing kits for the virus have been dangerously scarce, but that didn’t seem to stop NBA players from quickly getting screened

Sebastian Murdock | HUFFPOST

As COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, sweeps across the U.S., testing kits needed to identify the illness have been in dismally short supply. But the NBA seemed to have no problem this week getting 58 testing kits in one day.

On Wednesday, the NBA announced it was suspending its season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The discovery set off a chain of events leading to the dramatic cancellation of a game just before tipoff and a wave of other sports institutions announcing their own season suspensions.

On Thursday, 58 people in Oklahoma ― a group of Utah Jazz players, coaching staff and local journalists ― were tested for the virus. Only one other person, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, was found to have the virus. The Daily Beast was the first to ask how the NBA was able to get its hands on so many tests amid a widespread shortage:

A powerful, wealthy pro sports league flexed the political capital and financial might required to get government officials to spring into action. The unintentional byproduct, though, is another, equally jarring number: 7,617 people in total have been tested for the virus by state labs as of Thursday, and those 58 tests, or a staggering .8 percent, were conducted on employees of one professional basketball team.

Oklahoma Health Commissioner Gary Cox said Thursday that the state currently has the “capacity to run about 100 tests a day.” That means those associated with the NBA got roughly 60 percent of the state’s daily testing, The Daily Beast noted.

There are currently two known active cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma, but that number is expected to go up. Representatives for the Utah Jazz and the Oklahoma Department of Health did not immediately respond to questions from HuffPost.

As the situation becomes more alarming, many planned events, concerts and sports seasons have been postponed, rescheduled or canceled to help slow the spread of the virus.

Kevin Love, others pledge to help displaced NBA workers during coronavirus suspension

Ryan Young | Yahoo Sports

The NBA’s decision to suspend the season indefinitely amid the COVID-19 outbreak will leave countless employees out of work across the league.

And with no specific timetable in place for when league plans to start up again, those displaced workers have no idea when they can expect to see a paycheck again — something that will certainly leave families in a tough position.

Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love and several teams across the league, however, are ready to help.

Kevin Love donates $100,000 to Cavs support staff

Love announced on Instagram on Thursday that he was going to donate $100,000 through his foundation to help the team’s support staff and arena staff while they are out of work.

That decision, he said, will hopefully help bring a bit of calm to the unprecedented time in the NBA. 

“Pandemics are not just a medical phenomenon,” Love wrote on Instagram, in part. “They affect individuals and society on so many levels, with stigma and xenophobia being just two aspects of the impact of a pandemic outbreak. It’s important to know that those with a mental illness may be vulnerable to the effects of widespread panic and threat. Be kind to one another. Be understanding of their fears, regardless if you don’t feel the same. Be safe and make informed decisions during this time. And I encourage everyone to take care of themselves and reach out to others in need — whether that means supporting your local charities that are canceling events  or checking in on your colleagues and family.”

Several others in the league have pledged to help, too.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban addressed the issue on Wednesday night, almost instantly pledging to create a program for hourly workers at the American Airlines Center.

Hawks owner Tony Ressler agreed to join Cuban in his efforts on Thursday morning, too, and will create a program for the workers at State Farm Arena.  The 76ers made a similar pledge in a statement on Thursday, too.

Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller wrote on Twitter that he was prepared to make sure the support staff was taken care of, even if he has to “pay out of pocket” himself.

Though the disruption may be annoying for them, the players and management in the league will be fine during the break. Thanks to Love, Zeller and others, it sounds like the most impacted will be fine after all.

Hopefully others around the league follow their example shortly, too.

Coronavirus: NBA players’ Twitter reaction to league suspending season

NBC SPORTS

Things changed very quickly in the NBA on Wednesday.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly was expected to announce Thursday that the remainder of the season would be played in empty arenas, but the league instead suspended its season Wednesday night after a player on the Utah Jazz tested positive for the new coronavirus (COVID-19). The player reportedly was Utah center Rudy Gobert, and the Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder game then was suspended.

Current and former NBA players found out about the league’s plan at the same time as everyone else, and their live reactions on Twitter were something to behold.

If the NBA doesn’t resume its season as some around the league reportedly fear, Wednesday could’ve been Vince Carter’s last game. Carter has been a fixture in the league, playing 22 seasons across four decades.

Now, Carter and the rest of the NBA will wait and see what’s next.

NBA suspends season after player tests positive for coronavirus

Jason Owens | Yahoo Sports

The NBA announced on Wednesday that it is suspending its season until further notice amid coronavirus fears.

The announcement arrived shortly after a game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was abruptly postponed.

The extraordinary step is the latest in the United States to limit large gatherings in an effort to stifle the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The news arrives hours after the NCAA announced that its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be played without fans in the stands. College basketball conferences are falling in line with their championship tournaments.

Meanwhile, sports organizations and municipalities in the U.S. and around the world have either canceled, postponed or limited fan access to sporting events and social gatherings like concerts and conferences. 

Joke gone wrong: Rudy Gobert rubbed his hands on several microphones at a press conference

ZACH MILLER | USA TODAY SPORTS

On Monday, Jazz forward Rudy Gobert tried to make light of growing coronavirus concerns across the county.

Now, the NBA is suspending the season because he has the virus.

Shortly after news of Gobert’s diagnosis became public, video started circulating around social media of Gobert rubbing his hands all over several microphones during a press conference.

https://twitter.com/DanWeiner/status/1237909108071809030

This wasn’t mindless touching of microphones during a press conference, Gobert clearly stops before leaving the room, making a point of touching all the microphones and laughing as he jogged out of the room

Now every reporter who touched those microphones should be tested for the virus, as will every player who took the court with Gobert.

It’s no wonder why the NBA postponed Thursday night’s Jazz-Thunder game when Gobert was experiencing symptoms, then quickly followed by suspending the season when the test came back positive.

The virus has spread quickly across the United States, with more than 1,200 cases and more than 30 deaths reported nationally. Gobert is the first athlete in a major pro sports league to be diagnosed.

The virus has had a large impact on the sports world, as many college basketball conference tournaments are being contested without fans, and the NCAA announced earlier Wednesday that the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments will be played without fans.