When 2,800 basketball fans packed out the gym at Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana on Friday evening (March 6) for the sectional semi-finals, they would be in for an unexpected tragedy five weeks later. Five men who attended that game are now dead from coronavirus.
On March 6, hours before the basketball game, state officials announced that the first person in Indiana had tested positive for COVID-19 at Community Health North, just four miles from Central High, according to the Indiananoplis Star.
“There is no ongoing risk to the public,” state department of health commissioner Dr. Kris Box said that day, in response to the first positive case.
Just hours before the game was scheduled to play, the Lawrence Central Athletic Department tweeted out that games would still be played as scheduled for Friday evening.
“We have received numerous calls this afternoon regarding the coronavirus case in Marion County and the status of our sectional games tonight. The games will be played as scheduled,” the tweet read.
Hours later Paul Loggan, 57, Roscoe Taylor, 43, Charles Johnson, 78, Larry Rush, 67, and Jim DeSalle — fans and coaches attending the high school basketball semi-finals — would be cheering on their respective teams, hugging and embracing those around them.
What they didn’t know was that they would each test positive for coronavirus in the coming days, and just weeks later would die from health complications caused by the respiratory disease.
“The problem with any communal event like a basketball tournament is that you’ve got a clustering of people in close proximity,” said Dr. Cole Beeler, infectious diseases doctor at Indiana University Health.
It is still yet confirmed if the five men contracted the virus while attending the game.
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