NBA advises players to avoid high-fives amid coronavirus concernscloseVideo
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Amid the coronavirus crisis spreading to most corners of the planet, the NBA is cautioning players to avoid high-fiving fans and strangers and avoid taking any item for autographs, according to a report.
The league, in a memo sent to teams on Sunday and obtained Monday by The Associated Press, offered 10 recommendations to players with hopes of decreasing risks of getting the virus — among them, not taking items such as pens, markers, balls and jerseys from autograph-seekers.
The NBA also told teams that it is consulting “with infectious disease experts, including the Centers for Disease Control” and infectious disease researchers at Columbia University in New York.
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Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets high-fives coaches after coming out of the game during the first half against the Miami Heat at Barclays Center on January 10, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
“We are also in regular communication with each other, NBA teams including team physicians and athletic trainers, other professional sports leagues, and of course, many of you,” the league wrote in its memo to teams, their physicians and athletic training staffs.
The worldwide death toll topped 3,000 on Monday, and the number of those infected rose to about 89,000 in 70 countries on every continent but Antarctica.
In the U.S., the virus has been blamed for six deaths, all in Washington state.
“Containment is feasible and must remain the top priority for all countries,” World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul (3) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Hamidou Diallo (6) high-five during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. (Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports)
Many of the tips offered by the NBA fell under common-sense level of best practices when it comes to illness prevention: avoiding contact with people who are sick, staying home when feeling ill, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. The league also suggested players make sure they “are up to date with all routine vaccinations, including the flu vaccine.”
“The coronavirus remains a situation with the potential to change rapidly — the NBA and the Players Association will continue to work with leading experts and team physicians to provide up-to-date information and recommended practices that should be followed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” the league said in the memo.
Some players are already heeding the advice.
Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, right, shoots over Detroit Pistons forward Thon Maker during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum said in a tweet on Saturday that he is taking the matter seriously.
“Make sure y’all washing y’all hands with soap for 20 or more seconds & covering ya mouths when you cough,” McCollum tweeted. “I am officially taking a break from signing autographs until further notice.”
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McCollum has tweeted or retweeted several virus-related posts since.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.