Spike in Florida cases threatens NBA’s planned Orlando “bubble”

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As the NBA prepares to take 22 teams to Florida for the completion of the 2019-20 season, Florida’s spike in coronavirus cases is causing concern for the league.

According to Baxter Holmes and Zach Lowe of ESPN.com, a record-high 4,049 cases in Florida from Saturday — the third straight day that the prior record fell “has raised concerns in many corners of the NBA, from players to team executives to the league office itself.”

The state has set daily records in seven of the last 10 days, making it a national hot spot.

Per the report, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently acknowledged the spike during a call with team executives; Silver’s tone was described, according to ESPN.com, as “resolute but somber.” Silver said the league plans to proceed with the “bubble” approach in Orlando, but he nevertheless recognized the gravity of the spike.

The NFL surely is monitoring, especially if it gives any credence to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s belief that it will be difficult for the NFL to get a season in without a similar one-city approach. As explained on Saturday, however, the league remains highly optimistic that it will play all 256 regular-season games and 13 postseason games, for a variety of reasons.

Regardless, the NFL is still nearly three months away from games that count. The NBA is closing in on setting up a “bubble” in a state that is experiencing a growing wave of infections weeks after places like New York and California reached their peak. If Florida can get the current spike under control, it’s possible that, by the time the NBA heads to Orlando, the currently growing curve in Florida will have flattened.

To get there, of course, the people who live in Florida will need to take the situation seriously, ignoring those voices in the media who are telling them what they want to hear: Live your life, go to bars and restaurants, and don’t wear a mask.