Milwaukee Bucks: Concerns grow as COVID-19 cases soar in Florida

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 15: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 15: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

With the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the NBA planning to resume the season in Florida, concerns are growing as COVID-19 cases surge in the state.

By all accounts, the NBA’s plan to resume the season is as extensive and robust as it can possibly be. Although it’s less clear what that may actually count for in reality.

Dr. Anthony Fauci hailed it as “creative” and with the potential to be successful, while Dr. Cindy Prins, an epidemiologist at the University of Florida, told the New York Times that she deemed the league’s safety protocols to be “extremely thorough”.

More from Bucks News

Unfortunately, in these incredibly uncertain and unprecedented times, even such apparently rigorous plans can be made to look remarkably fragile at any given moment.

As the Milwaukee Bucks and teams around the NBA continue to ramp up and prepare for the season’s proposed resumption at Walt Disney World, the latter is rapidly becoming apparent as Florida, the league’s planned host, has seen their worst surge in coronavirus cases in recent days.

That has led to increased scrutiny on the viability of playing in Florida in and, according to various media reports, it’s a situation that the NBA is being forced to monitor very closely.

In the aforementioned New York Times article, Sopan Deb spoke to various figures about the complications that accompany both the NBA and MLS plans of resuming play at Walt Disney World.

At that time, on Thursday, the state’s one-day record for new coronavirus cases stood at 2,783. Just a couple of days later, the record stands at 4,049 from Saturday (at least at this time of writing), and ESPN’s Baxter Holmes and Zach Lowe have also reported on the additional challenges that are emerging with the NBA’s chosen destination now proving to be a COVID-19 hot spot.

The area of Central Florida where Walt Disney World is located is not at the center of Florida’s rise in cases, but with Disney employees not set to be quarantined in the bubble with players, the wider spread in the state is a cause for alarm in terms of its potential to compromise the NBA’s environment.

The NBA’s Mike Bass indicated to ESPN that the league will continue to seek out solutions with their partners:

"“NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN that the league is ‘closely monitoring the data in Florida and Orange County and will continue to work collaboratively with the National Basketball Players Association, public health officials and medical experts regarding our plans.'”"

Speaking to Lowe and Holmes, Michele Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, outlined her concerns and the actions her union may look to further implement.

"“Can’t say I am surprised, given the state’s approach to reopening. We are obviously clearly monitoring the situation. While we take some solace in knowing our players will not travel commercially to get to Orlando, that access to the campus is severely limited and, of course, all of the other health and safety protocols in place, the numbers will keep our attention. If necessary to add further restrictions respecting those third parties having access to the campus, we will seek to implement them.”"

The issue is the stance of the players union will rub up against the union of the “third parties” that Roberts refers to, as limiting the movements of Disney workers for such an extended period of time would seem like a much tougher sell for those employees and those representing them.

In just a couple of weeks time, teams will start to travel to Florida to prepare for the restart. What recent developments in the state show is that until everyone is in the bubble, and games are being played, there’s still a real risk of the NBA’s well-intentioned plan proving to be insufficient to even resume in the first place.

Next. Darvin Ham opens up on race and NBA coaching. dark

Few teams would likely relish the chance to see the current season completed in a safe environment more than the Bucks, but that prospect still remains somewhat uncertain.