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The Covid-19 Pandemic and its Impact on NBA Games

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the world of sports in no small measure, with the NBA not an exception. And with the omicron variant spreading faster by the day, players and officials have been in and out of the health and safety protocols, with quite a handful of games getting postponed. As of Sunday, December 19, seven total games had been postponed and impact the schedules of nine different teams.

The NBA has announced the following: — NBA Communications (@NBAPR) December 19, 2021

COACHES AND FANS AFFECTED BY THE PANDEMIC IMPACT Coaching staff are also being impacted as Lakers head coach Frank Vogel missed Sunday’s game against the Bulls after entering protocols. Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, Kings coach Alvin Gentry and Toronto president Masai Ujiri are also in protocols. As far as the impact on fans, the Raptors announced December 15 that they will play home games at 50 percent capacity. They are currently the only team to announce an updated arena capacity policy. Leaguewide, there were at least 68 players who have either been ruled out to play, or in the case of the postponed games, would have been ruled out because they are in the protocol. Atlanta Hawks star guard, Trae Young entered the health and safety protocols, with the NBA just one of many sports leagues around the world dealing with a rapidly worsening issue.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel has entered health and safety protocols, per @ShamsCharania. David Fizdale will serve as acting coach tonight vs. Bulls. — Yahoo Sports NBA (@YahooSportsNBA) December 19, 2021
Statement from MLSE & the Toronto Raptors. — Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) December 15, 2021

THE SUPER SPREADER HOLIDAY SEASON Officials of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are expecting a wave of breakthrough infections among the vaccinated given the surge of holiday travelers and gatherings expected during Christmas and New Year celebrations. The NBA says 97% of players are fully vaccinated and somewhere around 60% had received boosters as of last week. It was not clear how many of the current positive cases involve those who are ineligible for a booster shot or those who have chosen not to receive one.

Rates of #COVID19 cases remain high & are rising in many parts of the United States. As of December 15, the 7-day average of daily new cases is 117,950. Get vaccinated as soon as you can and get a booster shot when you're eligible. More: — CDC (@CDCgov) December 16, 2021

STEMING THE TIDE The league and the National Basketball Players Association have been discussing a plan in which teams in desperate need of players would be able to sign reinforcements to 10-day contracts but without those deals impacting salary cap and luxury tax figures. That deal has not yet been finalized, though talks are in progress.

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