On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The same day, two players on the Utah Jazz basketball team tested positive for COVID-19, and the NBA suspended the rest of the season. Then the NCAA canceled all scheduled games for the rest of the year. The precautionary measures had a ripple effect through the rest of the country: By the end of the week, President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency, other sports leagues canceled their events, and the next week California issued the first statewide stay-at-home order. Since then, sports teams, athletes, and other industry organizations have stepped up in the fight against the coronavirus. Here are some notable examples:
- To help ease the isolation of the vulnerable elderly population, a NASCAR racing team raised money to donate tablets to residents of two Virginia nursing homes. They now can video chat with their friends and family. NASCAR’s research and development branch is also producing face shields for healthcare workers.
- A leading maker of hockey equipment is repurposing materials once used for hockey visors to make medical-grade face shields. “We’re not expecting to make any profit on this,” said the company’s vice president of global marketing. “One of the benefits … is to be able to have some of our people in the manufacturing plants be able to work.”
- Last week, the NFL’s New England Patriots used the team plane to bring more than a million N95 masks from China to the United States. The Kraft family, the team’s owners, paid $2 million to cover the cost of half of the masks. China gave the crew a three-hour window to stay on the ground during the pickup, and the plane took off with just three minutes to spare.
- A maker of Major League Baseball jerseys started making medical gowns and masks last month. The company is working with the same fabric it normally uses for baseball jerseys. The company made the first available items with New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies fabric, but plans to include fabric from other teams as well.
- Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai donated masks, goggles, and ventilators to New York last week to help the state meet the increasing need for medical equipment. According to CNN, the donation included 1.3 million KN95 masks, a China-produced equivalent of the coveted N95 masks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared the alternative mask for use last week.