Nets' access to COVID-19 tests questioned

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is among those questioning how the Brooklyn Nets were able to test the team for coronavirus when others in his hard-hit city haven’t had access to tests.

FILE PHOTO: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference for the outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at City Hall in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

The Nets announced Tuesday that four players tested positive for coronavirus, with star Kevin Durant acknowledging that he was among them.

“We wish them a speedy recovery,” de Blasio tweeted. “But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested. Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick.”

Statewide, New York has nearly 2,400 confirmed cases, with 1,339 in New York City as of mid-day Wednesday.

ESPN reported that the team contracted with a private company to conduct the tests.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne on Tuesday night that the testing was in response to players’ frequent travel and exposure to fans.

“Public health authorities and team doctors have been concerned that, given NBA players’ direct contact with each other and close interactions with the general public, in addition to their frequent travel, they could accelerate the spread of the virus,” Bass said. “Following two players testing positive last week, others were tested and five additional players tested positive.

“Hopefully, by these players choosing to make their test results public, they have drawn attention to the critical need for young people to follow CDC recommendations in order to protect others, particularly those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.”

Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, as well as Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons, tested positive last week for the virus.

The Nets last played on March 10 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Members of the Lakers are under quarantine for 14 days and will be tested for COVID-19, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.

--Field Level Media