The Magic may have had indirect contact with Rudy Gobert and his Jazz teammates.
Gobert on Wednesday became the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19, leading the NBA to suspend the season. The rest of the Jazz were tested shortly after the postponement of their game against the Thunder, and as of this writing, the results were not yet available.
Players from teams who played against the Jazz over the last 10 days have been instructed to self-quarantine. That does not include the Magic, who last played the Jazz in early January. BUT, according to Ben Bearup of Airways Magazine, the airplane that was used by the Jazz to travel to Oklahoma City on Tuesday may have been used just hours later to fly the Magic from Memphis to Orlando.
The aircraft in question is a Delta 757-200 (N651DL) commonly used by the NBA to transport its teams between games. pic.twitter.com/VF4ODv0vKN— Ben Bearup (@TheAviationBeat) March 12, 2020
If this information and flight log is accurate, does it mean the Magic players and personnel who were on the plane are at an elevated risk of catching coronavirus?
The virus is believed to spread primarily through direct contact, although those who have it can spread it before even showing symptoms. The New York Times wrote earlier this week that, “A study of other coronaviruses found they remained on metal, glass and plastic for two hours to nine days.”
The CDC website states, “Based on what is currently known about the novel coronavirus and similar coronaviruses that cause SARS and MERS, spread from person-to-person with these viruses happens most frequently among close contacts (within about 6 feet). “This type of transmission occurs via respiratory droplets. On the other hand, transmission of novel coronavirus to persons from surfaces contaminated with the virus has not been documented. Transmission of coronavirus occurs much more commonly through respiratory droplets than through fomites. Current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.”
The good news is that Delta Airlines, in the wake of the coronavirus breakout, has added a fogging procedure that disinfects surfaces to its cleaning process.
CORONAVIRUS: Delta Air Lines is taking its cleaning procedures to new heights by fogging cabins with disinfectant. Crews are also wiping down areas touched by passengers and crews by hand.— CNN Newsource (@CNNNewsource) March 10, 2020
Hopefully, if it was same plane, it underwent a thorough cleaning before the Magic boarded. Regardless, given the rate at which the virus has spread and the uncertainty as to how exactly it can be transmitted, the Magic should be tested, if they haven’t been already.
Alex Martins, Jeff Weltman and Steve Clifford are scheduled to meet with the media on Thursday at 10 a.m. at Amway Center.