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Report: NBA’s coronavirus uptick stems from Raptors coaches’ inconsistent mask-wearing

Raptors coach Nick Nurse

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 29: Head coach Nick Nurse of the Toronto Raptors speaks with players during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on December 29, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 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 Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

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The Raptors’ coronavirus issues have spread from coaches to players.

Toronto’s effect on the NBA’s coronavirus landscape is apparently larger than just two postponed games.

NBA release:

Of the 456 players tested for COVID-19 since Feb. 24, seven new players have returned confirmed positive tests.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Five Toronto players are out due to coronavirus protocols: Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Malachi Flynn and Patrick McCaw.

So, at least two of the seven coronavirus cases were on other teams. The number on other teams might be higher. Raptors could be out due to contact tracing rather than positive tests.

But this is a troubling outcome with Toronto.

In the previous five rounds of testing, NBA players had two, zero, one, five and two cases of coronavirus. So, seven is a significant increase.

For it to happen because Raptors coaches didn’t properly wear masks is unacceptable. Even with the NBA’s frequent testing, coronavirus can infiltrate a team. Masks prevent further spread. They’re an important and relatively easy way for people to keep those around them safer amid this pandemic. The Toronto coaches who didn’t properly mask up disrespected those close to them.

Worse might be yet to come.

As players travel during the All-Star break, many could contract coronavirus. Players have gotten coronavirus at significantly higher rates while away from their teams.

Altogether, NBA players have had at least 160 cases – and almost certainly many more – of coronavirus.

There’s a light at the end of the tunnel with coronavirus rates falling as the weather warms and vaccination rates rising as supply increases.

But this is probably just the start one last rough stretch for the NBA.