When it comes to COVID-19 infections, Oklahoma is way down the list with just eight. But when Utah visited Oklahoma City recently for an NBA game, the game was cancelled and the NBA season suspended because the Jazz center Rudy Gobert (seen in photo) had contracted the coronavirus. That led to the testing of 58 Utah players and employees ― and cries of wealth privilege" by the SB Nation sports blog.
SB Nation's James Dator says "it would have been reasonable for the Utah Jazz to test everyone in the organization, just to be on the safe side." Nonetheless, he blasted the U.S. for being behind the curve on this pandemic and said the NBA team got preferential treatment for testing because they are rich and privileged.:
" ... (I)n a country lacking a system of widespread, affordable testing amid a global pandemic, it’s unconscionable to justify the state of Oklahoma using its already-stretched resources to test 58 players and personnel from a basketball team.
"It would be reductive to look at this as a situation of sports being more important than anything else. The reality is this situation is just another example of something we already know: The rich and powerful benefit from their privilege in every walk of life."
Dator writes that the issue here isn’t just the Jazz getting preferential treatment, but the impact of allocating 60 percent of Oklahoma’s testing resources on the team that brought COVID-19 into the state.
"How many at-risk people had to wait on testing so the NBA could have peace of mind?" Dator asks. "We don’t have answers, and the dire nature of this speculation is precisely that, but these are also the questions we need to ask in any scenario where depleted resources require pointed allocation during a time of crisis."
The SB Nation writer is correct about not having the facts. Dator is remiss to say that Oklahoma has very few reported infections and is more concerned with the United States' isolationist policies:
"A utilitarian point of view would suggest testing the entire Jazz organization to determine how the virus was spreading and suspending the season as a result created the greatest good — but also there’s a human toll we cannot ignore. The United States is woefully unprepared for the epidemic due to isolationist policies and an overwhelming tendency to think the country would be immune to issues burdening other nations dealing with their own crises. On top of that, our healthcare system is ill-prepared to handle an influx of patients in need of intensive care, should that become a reality. ..."
We’ve already seen this in Northern Italy where doctors are struggling to allocate limited resources and "confronting the impossible scenario of sending symptomatic elderly patients home, knowing they could die," Dator writes.
So now Oklahoma, with its eight infections and zero deaths, is on the verge of becoming Northern Italy, Dator figures. The U.S. as a whole, with 61 deaths and at least 42 of them confined to Washington state, hasn't even approached Italy.
Though Oklahoma seems to have a handle on the virus, thank you, the alarmist Dator concludes, "We must all be aware of how resources are allocated as the pandemic progresses. It will get worse before it gets better, and testing and treatment shouldn’t be determined by a person’s wealth or social standing."
Oklahoma should get credit for doing some things right though. It's not exactly the epicenter of the pandemic, and when out-of-staters brought the virus into the heartland state, Oklahoma jumped on that group and started testing. Sounds like pretty good strategy ... that just got in the way of the agenda of a writer for a progressive blog.