NBA players to wear 'smart' ring that can detect coronavirus symptoms in advance

NBA players completing the season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., will have the option to wear “smart rings” that detect symptoms of the novel coronavirus.

The rings, manufactured by Oura, measure temperature, heart rate and respiratory functions, all of which can be early red flags for the virus. The company claims the rings can predict the onset of symptoms up to three days in advance with 90 percent accuracy. All players will be given the option to wear the rings, CNBC reported.

Disney, meanwhile, will distribute among players the MagicBands they distribute to resort guests to access hotels and pay for food and gifts, but in this case the league hopes to use them for contact tracing, with the league exploring ways to track whether any players diagnosed with the virus has come into contact with anyone else using the bands. While the company will be barred from player’s personal health information, it will be alerted to players’ health status to enforce contact tracing.

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The league also said it is exploring software that could allow a player or employee’s band to display green or red depending on health status when they use it to access campus facilities, according to CNBC.

The league will also give all players and personnel individual pulse oximeters to monitor blood oxygen saturation as well as a “smart” thermometer. All team and league staff will be required to have a small device on their credential that sets off an alarm when they come within six feet of another person for longer than five seconds, CNBC reported.

The plan has been approved by the NBA Players Association, but the NBA has said that any player or staffer refusing to undergo daily health monitoring “will be prohibited from engaging in group activities until the monitoring is accomplished and/or may be required to leave the campus permanently.”

Commissioner Adam Silver, meanwhile, has said players who choose not to attend will not be punished.

“It will entail enormous sacrifice for everyone involved,” Silver said in an interview with ESPN on Monday. “Listen, it’s not an ideal situation trying to find our new normal in the middle of a pandemic... I can understand how some players feel it’s not for them.”