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Volume 26 No. 134
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Staples Center Visits Linked To Growing NBA, NHL Virus Cases

Staples Center is a "common denominator among eight of the 16 cases of COVID-19 announced by NBA and NHL teams," according to Nathan Fenno of the L.A. TIMES. The "hub of sports and entertainment" in L.A. "hosted 39 events after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed" in L.A. County, including the "memorial service for Kobe Bryant, the Grammy Awards, two nights of bull riding, 12 Kings games, and 19 games involving the Lakers or Clippers." Identifying the source and site of the infection is impossible, but the Lakers' schedule during that final week "put them within four degrees of separation of every NBA team." The "crossover between leagues -- 11 arenas are home to both NBA and NHL teams -- the densely loaded schedules, the proximity to closely packed stands, combined with an easily spread virus, created a new label of athletes: super spreaders." The eight positive tests by athletes with recent games at Staples Center are a "tiny piece of the mushrooming public health crisis that has grown to more than 26,000 case and 260 deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S." Fenno wondered with "so many precautions, how did this happen?" (L.A. TIMES, 3/22).