NBA commissioner Adam Silver has told ESPN's Malika Andrews the NBA has no plans to suspend the season. COVID-19 is surging through the league but the NBA has no immediate plans to suspend the season. "No plans right now to pause the season," Silver said in an interview on NBA Today on Tuesday afternoon.
"We have of course looked at all the options, but frankly we are having trouble coming up with what the logic would be behind pausing right now. "As we look through these cases literally ripping through the country, let alone the rest of the world, I think we're finding ourselves where we sort of knew we were going to get to over the past several months, and that is this virus will not be eradicated, and we're going to have to learn to live with it.
I think that's what we're experiencing in the league right now." Silver admitted the omicron strain is "beyond dominant" within the NBA at the moment. "We're up around probably 90% of the positive cases we're seeing right now are omicron," Silver said.
The NBA hoping to be able to reduce the isolation protocol
"We always are measuring viral loads with our PCR test," Silver said. "So that's something, again, that it's not just our doctors but the medical community is looking at.
I think they're already realizing that you can move away from the 10-day protocol when you have players who are vaccinated and boosted. "It seems the virus runs through their systems faster. They become not just asymptomatic but, more importantly, they're not shedding the virus anymore.
That's the real concern in terms of others. And so we are actively looking at shortening the number of days players are out before they can return to the floor." Silver urged everyone to take the booster shot because he insists it's effective.
"I would just say to our community, really to everyone, at least based on the data the NBA has, that the boosters are highly effective, and we are strongly encouraging everyone to get them. In fact, in our league right now, we're around 97% vaccinated, but we're up to about 65% of our players have been boosted and we're in active discussions with the players' association to get that number even higher.
So we're not, in terms of your question, in essence whether we can treat this as endemic, and people begin to move on and we only test those that are symptomatic and deal with those, we're not quite there yet, but we're paying a lot of attention to what other leagues are doing."