Dr Rand spoke with Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer on what it would take for the NBA to return. With no fans, an isolated location, and lots of testing, it’s possible but expensive.

Testing in the NBA

“Price-wise I can put a number on it, even with the NBA’s bargaining power, if you will, which really doesn’t amount to much. Because everyone wants a test nowadays,” McClain, the chief medical officer of LCR Health, based in Santa Monica, Calif., said Wednesday. “You are probably talking initially about $250 [each time] per individual.”

“But you are talking about from the get-go right away, worst-case scenario, $250 per player or anyone you want to test per day,” McClain said.

MLB has thought about potentially playing everyday. Using that as an example, McClain explains that the frequency of testing would have to be everyday until they test positive for the antibodies and are presumably immune to the virus.

“But up until that point, you would have to test them every day unless you can absolutely limit their exposure 100 percent,” he said, “and after three or four days, you say there’s nobody that could be exposed, which I don’t think you can say. … I think you are going to have to test every day.

“In basketball, it depends if they are going to have a similar schedule where they are playing every day. I know it’s going to be more than once a week.”

The tests he’s speaking about are not the 15 minute ones, but rather the more precise 24 hour laboratory ones.

“Those are typically not as accurate as the tests that are done in a laboratory setting,” he said. “So, that’s the problem [with the 15-minute tests]. We don’t have a whole lot of kits that have been validated that way.”

Isolated Play

If the NBA does return, it may not be until July, if at all. The season would be isolated and have to take place in one city. Some being considered are Atlantic City, Orlando, Hawaii, Louisville, and Las Vegas.

“In terms of bubble-like concepts, many of them have been proposed to us, and we’ve only listened,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said two weeks ago. “We’re not seriously engaged yet in that type of environment, because I can’t answer … what precisely would we need to see in order to feel that that environment provided the needed health and safety for our players and everyone involved.”

McClain believes it’s possible the coming month that NBA guidelines may lessen due to positive results from drugs.

“We’ve got something here to help treat this, and we got other treatments,” he said. “In the next month or so, we might find some of this discussion is not as pertinent, because we have more treatments available, mitigating the risk even further.”

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