Upon hearing that Washington Mystics head coach Mike Thibault had tested positive for the coronavirus, Natasha Cloud's first reaction was fear. She was worried for both her 70-year-old coach and his wife, Nanci, with whom she has close relationships.
"You're scared, immediately," Cloud told reporters on Wednesday. "I called Coach T immediately after they sent us a group text explaining what happened, just to make sure that he was okay and then our other concern is Nancy and making sure that they're healthy and that they're safe. When something happens like that to a family member, it hits you a lot harder."
Thibault is vaccinated and, fortunately, feeling good, according to his son Eric. Once he goes through the league's protocols, Mike Thibault will return to the Mystics. In the meantime, Eric, who is the associate head coach, will assume the day-to-day duties of leading the team.
The Mystics, as a whole, are a fully vaccinated team and do not believe this was spread to other individuals in the organization.
But for Cloud, the moment invoked another strong reaction. It hit close to home and affected her Mystics family. She calls for those who are not vaccinated to stop being "selfish" and endangering their communities as a result.
"This is something that is still plaguing us as a world - not only a country - but I would say that here in America, we need to have real discussions about what we're doing moving forward," Cloud said. "Because we have a lot of people being vaccinated and responsible, but we still have a lot of irresponsible and selfish people being unvaccinated, which is leading to these variants. It's no secret, the science is what it is. By not being vaccinated, you're endangering your community. And so, at what point do you take it upon yourself to stop being a selfish [expletive].
"I think I've said it multiple times on here. Get vaccinated, wear masks, don't be an [expletive]. It literally is that simple."
All season long, Washington has avoided COVID-19 getting into their locker room. By the middle of June, the entire organization had received the vaccine.
Months later, coronavirus cases are at their second-highest mark in the United States since the pandemic began, according to NBC News' COVID dashboard. This is despite the vaccine being readily available for several months. A lot of the increase has been directed at the highly contagious delta variant.
Cloud wants everyone to do their part and get vaccinated. By doing so, it will protect others from getting sick and slow the spread.
"We need to start shifting into caring about others," Cloud said. "And so I wear my mask, not only for me but for other people. And I think that's the biggest shift that needs to happen here in America is stop being selfish and do your part."