Coronavirus: Raptors’ Chris Boucher apologizes for breaking team-wide quarantine by going to grocery store

Quarantining is a fairly simple concept. All it involves is the removal of contact with other human beings, and plenty of NBA players have been forced to do so in light of Rudy Gobert’s positive coronavirus test. Every team that played against Gobert’s Utah Jazz went into self-quarantine following his test, and that list included the Toronto Raptors. 

Unfortunately, one Raptors player didn’t quite hold up his end of the bargain. Reserve big man Chris Boucher was photographed Thursday at a Loblaws grocery store, only a day after the quarantine went into effect. The Raptors announced negative tests for their entire roster, but that came on Friday. In that moment, leaving the house posed a potential risk of infecting others. Boucher recognized that and apologized on Monday. 

Thankfully, Boucher’s negative test indicates that he didn’t infect others upon leaving his home, but the attitude that led to it remains dangerous as the world fights back against the spread of the disease. 

The best weapon people have left as the pandemic wears on is social distancing. Remaining home rather than mingling with others in public lowers the rate of infections significantly. Even if the same total number of people still get sick, the rate at which the disease is spread can be lowered enough to at least prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. This phenomenon is known as “flattening the curve,” and is one of the best-case scenarios for the continued spread of COVID-19. 

Unfortunately, despite increased messaging from governments and health organizations, many major cities have been unable to fully enact social distancing protocols. Images of a crowded Prospect Park and beaches in Florida have dominated the internet in recent days, showing large swaths of the population still aren’t taking the virus seriously. Governments have taken drastic steps such as closing restaurants, movie theaters and schools, but without buy-in from the public, effective social distancing is not possible. 

Hopefully, Boucher’s decision serves as an effective reminder for others about the importance of social distancing in this critical moment. The coronavirus is here, but it can at least be slowed. 

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