In the days since he tested positive for the new coronavirus, Utah Jazz All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell says he has not experience any symptoms of the pandemic.
Mitchell did his first public interview since he tested positive for coronavirus on March 12, speaking to ABC's Robyn Roberts during the March 16 edition of "Good Morning America." In that interview, Mitchell repeatedly said he showed no symptoms or signs of the virus and has been in quarantine ever since being diagnosed.
"The biggest thing for me is just to stay in isolation and just keep to myself," Mitchell said. "I have no symptoms, which is a unique situation."
"I keep making the joke to people that ask that if you were to tell me I might play in a seven-game series tomorrow, I'd be ready to lace up. I'm really blessed that that's the case."
EXCLUSIVE: “I think that’s the scariest part about this virus is that you may seem fine.” @NBA star @spidadmitchell speaks out for the first time from isolation since being diagnosed with COVID-19, despite being “asymptomatic.” https://t.co/i9rZzYvW4spic.twitter.com/wZJBteQjtV— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 16, 2020
Mitchell's case came after his teammate, All-Star center Rudy Gobert, became the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the NBA on March 11. Aside from Mitchell, Pistons big man Christian Wood -- who matched up against Gobert in Utah's March 7 road win -- also reportedly has coronavirus as well in news that broke over the weekend.
Over the weekend, both Gobert and Mitchell posted videos via the NBA to update fans on their condition. In his video, Gobert says he is "feeling a little better every single day" and encouraged fans to use smart hygiene practices to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus. In Mitchell's video, he said he is feeling "fine" and "taking the proper precautions" in being in isolation.
"I'm asymptomatic. I don't have any symptoms," Mitchell said Monday on "Good Morning America."
"I could walk down the street. If it wasn't public knowledge that I was sick, you wouldn't know it. I think that's the scariest part the virus: you may seem fine, be fine and but you never know who you may be talking to and who they're going home to."
Before leaving a media session at shootaround in Salt Lake City on Monday in advance of a game against Detroit that night, Gobert touched all the tape recorders that were placed before him on a table, devices that reporters who cover the Jazz were using.
“You know, there’s not much we can do right now,” Gobert said in that session when asked about how teams are dealing with the virus. And a minute or so later, before he ran out a side door, he touched all the recorders.
It is not known if Gobert is responsible for Mitchell contracting the virus, or vice versa. On Friday, Gobert posted on social media to apologize for his actions, writing: "I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis…mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment. The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected.”
Mitchell told "Good Morning America" he had seen Gobert's postings and videos online. However, he said he needed some time to get over his anger in the wake of being diagnosed with coronavirus.
"To be honest with you, it took a while for me to cool off. I read what he said and I heard what he said. I'm glad he's doing OK, I'm glad I'm doing well," Mitchell said. "I'm just really happy, to be honest, Robyn, that it's just -- I hate to say this -- just two of us and it wasn't the whole party at the end of the day. Neither him or I have children at home -- I have some teammates that have children, some staff that have children at home. So, I'm glad we were able to kind of contain it as much as possible."
Mitchell says he has spent his time in quarantine playing NBA 2K20, watching movies and watching some old highlights of himself from his college to his NBA days. However, none of those things replicate the joy of playing in the games.
"I think as of the basketball world saw yesterday, some of the guys are watching their old highlights," Mitchell said in the interview. "I've been doing a lot of that. I've watched myself through college, I've watched myself through the NBA ... it's kind of bringing back good memories, but you miss the game. You miss playing in front of some of the best fans in the world in the NBA."
Mitchell made it known during the "Good Morning America" interview that he would be helping to pay for lunches in the Granite School District in Salt Lake City. The program, which the team announced Monday, will allow students in the district to obtain a meal at no charge while schools are participating in a closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we all navigate the challenges that have arisen with COVID-19, there are many people impacted," MItchell said in a statement released by the team. "My mom’s career in education made me value children and the importance of academics, and I want to make sure that kids can continue to eat a meal while they can’t go to school.
“Our community is resilient and unified, and seeing how people have come together during this time makes me proud to represent this great state."
Under this program, any child under the age of 19, including preschool children, can show up at a designated site and eat a meal at no charge. During regular school days, vulnerable students are served meals in programs largely funded by the federal government. This partnership between Mitchell and Granite School District helps address gaps in service while school is out of session and for students who may not typically qualify under the federal guidelines.
The Granite School District is one of the largest in Utah, with 88 schools serving 67,730 students in Salt Lake City. Granite serves some of Utah’s most vulnerable children, including a large population of refugee students.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the WHO, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
Gobert became the center of why the league has been shut down for the foreseeable future after he became the first positive test.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.