NBA Season Restart 2019-20

Disney World Diary: After two weeks, COVID-19 testing just part of the daily routine

Shaun Powell

Shaun Powell

ORLANDO, Fla. — Test, test, one-two.

Three-four. Five-six. Seven-eight. Heck, why stop there? Saturday will mark my 14th test for COVID-19 and that’s over 14 days. You might sense a pattern. For as long and I’m on this planet — meaning, this self-contained safe globe constructed by the NBA — I will get the swab up the nose and down the throat every … single … day.

There are 137 steps between the front door of my room at the Coronado Springs Resort to the testing room. Each morning, my alarm rings at 9, I check to see if I have my mask over my face and MagicBand on my wrist, then take the long walk to learn my fate.

The suspense really isn’t as thick as the humidity. Because of all the safety protocols in place, I’d be shocked if I register a positive test. Besides, I’m extra careful, although there have been some close calls. Bogdan Bogdanovic, the extremely sociable guard for the Kings, tried to greet me with a handshake Friday. I glanced over at the Kings’ PR guy, Alex Segua, and he damn near fainted. By instinct, I extended my hand about four inches before stopping. Bogie recognized his mistake and offered a fist-pound instead, and even that is highly discouraged around here. I think I need some smelling salts to revive poor Alex.

Anyway: The testing is done in two adjoining rooms. The front door is kept closed. When you knock, you’re invited in to take a seat. The testers are insulated in protection from head to toe. They seem nice but aren’t big on casual conversation; this is serious business.

“What’s your name and date of birth?”

“Check this form and make sure it’s correct and sign it.”

“Thank you. Please take this form over there and have a seat.”

That’s how our chats go. And then, another tester sticks a Q-tip in places where dentists don’t venture. When that throat swab is done, another is stuck up each nostril until it hits something back there; I’m not sure what exactly, since in all my years I’ve never looked or searched that deep.

Each swab is placed in a tube, which is then sealed and you’re free to go.

Oh: “Have a nice day” they always say, and I imagine it’s done with a smile but their mask makes that hard to tell.

The entire process lasts three minutes and is rather innocent, although I did joke with the testers once how there was blood spilled the last time they tested me and I did get laughter, so there’s that. Underneath their long white coats and behind those masks are people with a sense of humor, after all.

By the time I leave Disney, I will have received over 60 tests. Before I arrived, I had zero. I realize how weird it is to live temporarily inside this safety-sealed spot, while those on the outside must deal with risks and possible exposure to the virus whenever the shop for food or gas their cars. Clippers coach Doc Rivers was serious when he said the NBA should send this idea to the White House. Obviously, there aren’t enough hotel rooms at Disney for 375 million people; that said, any parent who ever stood in line for hours at Space Mountain might disagree.

I wonder how I’ll ever know if I test positive? A knock on the door by security? Maybe my wristband won’t work at the arena? Or perhaps I’ll return to my hotel room to discover someone packed my bags and placed them by the door, as a hint?

My hunch: I’ll never reach that point.

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Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter .

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