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NBA to follow CDC guidelines, reduce quarantine times to five days

Milwaukee Bucks v Indiana Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MAY 13: A “wear a face mask” sign is seen on a seat during the game between the Indiana Pacers and the Milwaukee Bucks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 13, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

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After negotiations, the NBA and NBPA followed the science and reduced the quarantine period to six days — down from 10 — for players who test positive but are vaccinated and asymptomatic.

Then the CDC did the league one better and reduced its recommended quarantine times for people who test positive for COVID but are asymptomatic to five (followed by five days of wearing a mask). “The change is motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after,” the CDC said in a statement.

The NBA is on board with this and is adapting their protocols to fit, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Players will still need negative tests to return to the court.

Positive tests will keep pouring in through the new year as the NBA has increased its testing, and New Year’s Eve events will inevitably prove to be superspreader events. Even Wednesday morning, the Clippers added rookie Brandon Boston to their protocols, and the Heat added P.J. Tucker, Gabe Vincent, and Zylan Cheatham to their list. The cycle of G-League replacement players will continue for a few more weeks at least, although hopefully, it slows a little.

The good news is that according to teams NBC Sports has spoken with, almost every player who tests positive has been asymptomatic, or at most had very mild symptoms. According to the league, about 97% of NBA players are vaccinated, and nearly two-thirds have received a booster shot.