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NBA implements 'booster day' as the league is hit with a surge of COVID cases

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The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into the NBA's regular season and led the league to adopt stricter COVID-prevention protocols to combat the virus, including a "booster day," which is scheduled for Friday, according to CBS Sports

The announcement of booster day comes as a spate of COVID-related news has impacted the league this week, including two games set for Dec. 14 and 16 that the Chicago Bulls have had to postpone because 10 team members are unable to play due to the league's protocols, according to ESPN.

The Bulls aren't the only team affected by COVID and the health and safety protocols. The Associated Press reported that Indiana Pacers coach Rick Carlisle will have to sit out a few games, and the Brooklyn Nets will lose five players for their home game against the Toronto Raptors on Thursday. The Raptors also released a statement on Monday that two members of their broadcast team have also decided not to come to work after coming in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID.

COVID has plagued the league, with a total of 51 players having to enter COVID protocols. And 41 of the players placed on COVID protocols have missed games as of Tuesday morning, according to a report by ESPN.

The NBA's current COVID protocols indicate that any player who tests positive for the virus must spend at least 10 days away from the team unless he receives two negative PCR tests within a 24-hour period. The policy also states that players who are unvaccinated and test positive for contact tracing are required to quarantine themselves for seven days. Vaccinated players who test positive for contact tracing are not required to quarantine in most cases but must undergo seven days of testing, according to Sporting News.

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have pushed both players and staff to get coronavirus booster shots for several weeks, according to the Associated Press. The AP also reported that the NBA's new COVID guidelines will be announced Friday.

According to the NBA, 97% of all players have been vaccinated, and the league has encouraged all players and staff to take the booster by Friday, according to ESPN. Players who fail to do so will be subject to pregame COVID tests the same as unvaccinated players, according to a report from ESPN.

Staff designated Tier 1 or those who operate within 15 feet of players will also have to get a booster shot to get league clearance, according to CBS Sports.

The most current data from the NBA suggests that more than 60% of players have gotten booster shots, which means around 150 players would be subjected to daily testing under the proposed new guidelines, according to the Associated Press report.

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