Following a long-winding path that took over a year, the LA Lakers have captured their 17th NBA championship. The Lakers put forth a stellar campaign that has pushed the organization back on top of the mountaintop. However, the incredible feat has also seen it generate more significant concern for COVID-19.
Lakers win their 17th NBA title
The LA Lakers entered the 2019-20 season with plenty of expectations around competing for an NBA title.
The Lakers met those aspirations by putting together an impressive campaign that featured securing their first playoff berth in seven years. LA also captured the first overall seed in the Western Conference for the first time in a decade.
The Lakers followed that with a strong run through the playoffs to an NBA title behind a 16-5 record. LeBron James and Anthony Davis were guiding factors toward bringing the franchise their 17th NBA title. LA also received strong play from their role players and bench, such as Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, and Dwight Howard.
The impressive feat also led to a concerning health situation with LA health officials linking it directly to COVID-19.
Department of Health believes fans celebrations contributed to COVID-19 spike
With the LA Lakers reaching the mountaintop for the first time in a decade, it foreseeably led to many fans celebrating the accomplishment.
Although the Lakers didn’t condone a public gathering, many people decided to venture out on Oct.11 near Staples Center and LA Live to celebrate the franchise winning a championship. The activity saw many people choose not to abide by the health precautions for COVID-19 with no masks or social distancing.
All that unsurprisingly saw a recent surge in coronavirus cases in the LA County area over the last couple of weeks. According to Josh Peters of USA TODAY Sports, the LA County Department of Health voiced that they believe it’s “highly likely” that these gathers have contributed significantly to the spike.
In October, the number of new coronavirus cases in the LA area jumped up to 1,200 a day from 900 a day. The significant increase is concerning, especially with the virus still a prominent issue around the United States that still doesn’t have a vaccine.
There is much reason for Lakers fans to be excited about winning a championship. However, given the current atmosphere with the virus, it should have led to precautionary steps taken to avoid these troubling situations.
LA County will keep an eye on the Dodgers fans’ celebrations
LA could soon have the fortune of seeing another professional sports team win a championship with the LA Dodgers closing in on a World Series title.
The Dodgers currently hold a 3-2 series lead over the Tampa Bay Rays heading into Game 6 on Tuesday night. LA could capture their first World Series title in 32 years, potentially generating a strong public outpouring of fans celebrating the feat.
During the playoffs, the organization has taken the precautionary approach of putting together drive-in events with around 1,000 cars at Dodgers Stadium. The team has had security present to enforce social distancing while the games are shown on 60-foot screens. The Dodgers have gone about the situation appropriately, but there will be those choosing to ignore taking the health measures of wearing a mask and social distancing.
Following the Lakers’ celebration situation, there will be increased security and law enforcement presence at Dodgers Stadium on Tuesday night or Wednesday if the Rays force a Game 7.