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LA County health dept.: ‘Highly likely’ Lakers watch parties contributed to coronavirus spike

Lakers fans celebrate championship amid coronavirus pandemic

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 11: Los Angeles Lakers fans gather near the Staples Center to celebrate the Lakers 106 - 93 game 6 over the Miami Heat on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Los Angeles Times via Getty Imag

The Lakers won the championship.

Coronavirus cases are rising in and around Los Angeles.


After Game 6 of the NBA Finals, Lakers fans celebrated (then rioted) in the streets. Other fans celebrated indoors.

Josh Peter on USA Today:

The Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Finals coincided with a spike in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County, and it’s “highly likely” watch parties held by Lakers fans and the victory celebration outside Staples Center contributed to the spike, the L.A. County Department of Public Health said.

Since early October, the average number of new daily confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County has increased to 1,200 a day from 900 a day.

“It is impossible to determine the exact exposures that contributed to this increase,’’ the agency said. “However, it is highly likely that gatherings to watch and/or celebrate the Lakers, along with any other gatherings that occurred 2-3 weeks ago where people weren’t wearing face coverings and were in close contact with each other, contributed to the rise in LA County cases.’’

Yes, gathering indoors with a large mask-less group for several hours to watch a Lakers game is a generally high-risk activity. But how many people actually did that?

If the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has any data on how much coronavirus spread during Lakers-related activities, it’s not shared here.

The health department sure doesn’t explain how the Lakers’ title fits into coronavirus cases rising throughout the nation.