USA TODAY Sports, Mark Medina explains how LeBron James copes with the COVID-19 pandemic from home.
When he shocked the world and announced that he had been diagnosed with HIV, perhaps Magic Johnson truly believed he would still be alive. Johnson has a proven track record of just over 29 years and it is not over.
“The reason I still live is early detection,” Johnson said on CNN on Thursday. “I had a test and I had a medical examination. It turned out that I had HIV and it saved my life. “
Johnson did not appear on CNN just to think about when he announced on November 7, 1991 that he would retire from the Los Angeles Lakers after learning that he had contracted the HIV virus which causes AIDS. He also appeared to be discussing the new coronavirus pandemic.
First, Johnson proposed a certain context: “When I think about this virus, it’s completely different. “
However, Johnson still drew parallels between HIV and COVID-19 because of the similarities in misconceptions about the respective viruses, inadequate testing, lack of available drugs and how the pandemic has affected the black community.
“African-Americans are leading in terms of coronavirus deaths and most of them in the hospital are African-Americans,” said Johnson. “We need to do a better job as African Americans to track social estrangement, stay at home and make sure to educate our loved ones and family members and do what we are supposed to do for stay safe and healthy. Then when you add that, we don’t have access to health care, quality health care. Many of us are uninsured. It also creates a problem. Just like HIV and AIDS. ”
Take into account the common perception of HIV when Johnson learned he had it first.
“When I announced it was considered white gay disease,” said Johnson. “People were wrong. Black people did not think they could get HIV and AIDS. “
This partly explains why Johnson made his diagnosis public. It also partly explains why Johnson ultimately raised more than $ 10 million for HIV / AIDS research and charities through his foundation.
However, the Center for Disease Control estimated that in 2018, Blacks accounted for 42% of new HIV diagnoses. USA TODAY recently reported that black people die from coronaviruses at much higher rates than other Americans in large cities. Johnson offered various reasons for such a disturbing trend.
Johnson denounced the lack of testing supplies in the country and the various logistical and financial obstacles necessary to receive one.
“We must first make sure that all Americans can get tested. Right now there is a shortage of tests. People want to get tested, but they can’t find a test kit, ”said Johnson. “The problem is that people want us to go to suburban America to take this test. Why can’t you have these tests done in urban America and downtown? “
Johnson lamented the country’s current healthcare system. He observed that blacks are susceptible to more underlying health problems, including obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. These conditions can make people more vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.
“The lack of access to health care is an unbeatable combination,” said Johnson. “We have to improve. I hope there will be affordable health care for all, not just for minorities but for everyone. If prices go down, then I think you will find that African-Americans will be much healthier. “
Finally, Johnson pointed out that blacks are more likely to work in jobs considered “essential services” than those that allow them to work from home. This partly explains why Johnson invested in projects to rebuild downtown areas and raised funds to award college scholarships.
“We are working hard,” said Johnson. “We want to take care of our family. But at the same time, we have to understand that the hotel and restaurant sector is strongly motivated by minorities, especially African-Americans. We cannot simply say that it is because they are in us, the African-Americans, must do a better job. We have to make sure that our children can train themselves so that they can have jobs in other sectors. So we will not be talking about it hopefully in the next five years. ”
It largely depends on whether doctors can find a vaccine for COVID-19.
“Until we find drugs that can prolong life and help people defeat the virus, we will continue to kill people,” said Johnson. ” It is sad. We are here, the largest and strongest country in the world, and we should have drugs that can help people get through this virus. “
There is no cure for HIV or AIDS. Still, Johnson lived with the HIV virus by keeping a strict daily routine. He prays and has a positive attitude. He works. And he takes his medicine (he told the Los Angeles Times in 2011 that he is taking three undisclosed pills, twice a day). Johnson said on CNN that he had what is known as the HIV cocktail. Johnson doctor and one of the most prominent doctors in the AIDS research community, Dr. David Ho, is known to have developed “cocktail” mixtures of protease inhibitors.
“This is what made me live now for almost 30 years,” said Johnsons. “When I first announced HIV almost 30 years ago, there was only one drug in AZT. There are now 30 drugs. Now people can live healthy lives with these drugs. ”
It remains to be seen how long it will take to find the right drugs to treat COVID-19. Until this happens, professional sports leagues may not be equipped to resume play.
Major League Baseball has suggested a closed door game in Arizona. The NBA has considered a similar facility in Las Vegas. Lakers star LeBron James initially expressed dissatisfaction with playing games without fans, but has since softened his stance.
“LeBron is right. It’s hard to play without fans, “said Johnson, who resigned as president of the Lakers for basketball operations in 2019.” You play a game, you adapt to the lack of fans. We’ve all played our whole lives on the playgrounds and in the pickup games without the fans being there. Basketball players will adapt. ”
Although Johnson admitted he was “anxious to see if the Lakers were going to win the championship,” he seemed more concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic itself than worried about the resumption of sports.
“I hope it will happen. But first, the players must be safe, “said Johnson. “The numbers must be stabilized. America and all of us who live in this great country, we live in sport, especially at a time like this. But only if everyone is safe. “
Follow American NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Sport Pulse: show the creative ways people use household items in their workouts