LeBron James may be the highest-profile athlete to test positive for covid-19 with a breakthrough infection after being vaccinated. James missed the Los Angeles Lakers’ game on Tuesday and will remain out indefinitely after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
NBA teams have left public disclosure of covid test results to players, the Washington Post reported. The Lakers have not gone into detail about James, however, teammate Anthony Davis said postgame Tuesday that James was asymptomatic.
TMZ first reported James’ positive covid test on Tuesday.
“LeBron James took 3 COVID tests today,” tweeted Michael Babcock, executive producer at TMZ Sports. “Test 1 (lateral flow) was positive. The 2nd (PCR) test was negative. James was then given a 3rd tiebreaker test which came back positive. I’m told he’s asymptotic at this time. Team chartered a private jet to take Lebron back to L.A.”
Vaccinated NBA players who test positive must be out at least 10 days or until two negative tests are received at least 24 hours apart, according to the league’s pandemic rules. James has already missed half of the Lakers games this season due to a suspension and with minor injuries. He’ll miss three more games in the 10 days he could be out, including two scheduled for national TV with rival Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Clippers.
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Most NBA players — 97 percent — have been vaccinated, but dozens of breakthrough cases among players and coaches have disrupted games including Joel Embiid, who missed three weeks of games with the Philadelphia 76ers.
James seemed skeptical, tweeting late Wednesday afternoon to his 50 million followers that something fishy is going on, which raised questions.
Dieter Ismagil tweeted back, “My guess is LeBron is testing at home and coming up negative. False negatives are common for the first four days of infection according to MIT.”
News of James’ positive covid test brought out other insights and rebuttals about covid on social media.
“Fully vaccinated. Remember this all goes away if people get vaccinated,” Jack @caribeanpirate tweeted. To which j @brownsugaa_J responded, “FFS the vaccine doesn’t stop you from contracting the virus, it simply lessens the severity should you contract it.”
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