The good and bad news of testing lately is that testing volume accelerated quickly in May to 400,000 or so per day, but it’s now been two weeks since we first hit that level without another rapid acceleration thereafter. A reminder that, just because COVID-19 has been replaced on the front page for the time being, it is still critically important for testing volumes to grow significantly from here in order to have confidence that a sufficient testing and tracing program can be put in place in enough regions to prevent outbreaks.
Also on the good news bad news side of things, positive test rates have held steady at 5%, which is not a bad number (in terms of having your hands wrapped around the spread), but the decline in total positives has been barely perceptible over the past month. Obviously some of that was the uptick in testing, but not all of it.
That is all to say, while things may not have gotten immediately worse upon the very slow phased reopening of various areas (that’s good!), we’re not seeing any kind of sharp downturn in infections (that’s not good!). Mixed news all around.
NBA Finals Go Deep
The latest on the resumption of the NBA, which now seems all but guaranteed, could have the playoffs running deep into October:
ESPN Sources: As the NBA models a 22-team format for a July 31 resumption in Orlando, the proposed timeline for teams as the last possible date for an NBA Finals Game 7: October 12.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 2, 2020
And as Chris Mannix rightly speculates, going that deep means an impact on next season:
In this scenario, the start of the '20-21 season could be pushed all the way to January — perhaps later. https://t.co/fKyZjE3tZv
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) June 2, 2020
A reminder, though: (1) the NBA had been kicking around the idea of starting its season in December long before the pandemic, and (2) starting the next season much later means a greatly increased chance of having some games with fans for a bigger chunk of the season.
As for the Bulls, since they are unlikely to be included in a 22-team resumption plan, that’s a looooong time to go between competitive games.
MLS Figuring Out a Plan
So, MLB is actually not the only pro sport in the States with massive money battles standing in the way of a return.
The same has happened with Major League Soccer, which recently saw its owners threaten to lock players out if they didn’t take the deal being offered. Cooler heads might be prevailing, as the owners have reportedly changed course:
Reporting with @samstejskal: MLS has revised its return-to-play plan, amending its previous force majeure, media revenue share proposals.
Players set to vote this afternoon.
— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) June 2, 2020
In the end, it sounds like a deal is going to get done, which will mean a return for another sport.
Apples and oranges, but it’s interesting to see how the league is coming to a deal, which includes modest salary cuts for the players for the rest of the season, and a reworking of longer-term financial issues through 2024, and an extension of the CBA through 2025. It looks like the players gave up a lot, though I won’t pretend to be any kind of expert on MLS financial particulars.