Opinion: Covid-19 testing: overcoming challenges in the next phase of the epidemic

Which is a better proxy for estimating the Covid-19 infection rate in the United States: the infection rate in the NBA or the infection rate in China or Italy? The answer to that question reveals some of the pitfalls of diagnostic Covid-19 testing.

Kevin Durant, Rudy Gobert, and at least eight other NBA players have tested positive for Covid-19. The Jazz, Pistons, Nets, Lakers, and Celtics have all reported at least one positive test result for an active player, with 10 detected cases among the roughly 75 standard contract players on these teams. If this is representative of the rest of the NBA, then 13% of players are positive. Even if every other NBA team tested all its players and found no other positive results (a strong and doubtful assumption), the prevalence of Covid-19 in the league would be about 2%. And that is the low end of the possible range.

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