Why the Golden State Warriors' reopening plan isn't so nuts

The truth about Warriors owner Joe Lacob’s plan to sit 9,000 fans in an arena for a two-and-a-half-hour basketball game is more reasonable than that, a fascinating test case case in how private businesses small and large have tried to balance staying afloat while keeping coronavirus at bay in a country that has drifted about with absolutely no plan aside from “wait for a vaccine and hope people don’t hang out with their friends and family.”

New Jersey-based epidemiologist Sarah Perramant told me that she was “…expecting to see something I was going to be smacking my head about, but I really think the plan that is laid out in that article seems prudent and careful.” She was particularly impressed by the Warriors’ intention to use rapid PCR testing, which analyzes the genetic material of the virus to determine if someone is a carrier, as opposed to antigen testing, which is better suited for determining if coronavirus is the cause of an ongoing acute illness. (The White House employed rapid antigen testing before their various superspreader events.)

Rapid PCR testing is a fairly new development that has been used to keep movie production and fanless sports going—the NBA’s Florida “Bubble,” one of the few coronavirus-control victory stories we have, used rapid PCR testing extensively—and production is ramping up to the point where it will probably be a standard approach when events start to resume after a vaccine establishes some degree of control over the unchecked spread of the virus. Rapid PCR testing en masse would be drastically expensive, but Warriors’ ownership, at least, has said that they are willing to incur the costs if it gets some butts back in seats sooner rather than later.