Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca speaks on pandemic, return to play
June 6, 2020
By Justin Quinn
Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca has taken an active role in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, even helping form an advisory board comprised of executives and medical specialists to aid the Governor of Massachusetts as the state moves towards reopening the economy.
Pagliuca appeared on WBUR’s “Morning Edition” show to talk about the state of the state with regards to the pandemic, specifically about how things have been handled to date, what he expects to see in the immediate future, and of course how these things affect Pagliuca’s basketball interests.
Specifically on the topic of how the handling of the pandemic has gone so far, the Celtics owner had plenty to relate; “my observation from from the outside is is that it’s going well,” offered Pagliuca.
“We learn more every day, but the [Massachusetts] high tech council started this study about eight or nine weeks ago, and every day, there’s more data coming in. So far, we’ve learned that about two-thirds of the deaths in Massachusetts have been from nursing homes. So I think there’s there’s been a renewed focus on on keeping those safe, which will be really important.”
“Amazingly, 99.6% or so of the deaths at Mass General have been people over 60 and 95% over 70. So the disease is actually taking a toll on the older generation,” he added.
Pagliuca discussed developments in testing technology currently in the pipeline, including using gene editing tools like CRISPR to identify the presence of the virus quickly and cheaply.
“And then … throughout the nation, we’ve learned there’s 700 other kinds of testing companies springing up with isothermal tests which may be [a] cheaper and quicker test,” he explained.
The Bain Capital executive also spoke on new research pointing to the importance of wearing masks to prevent the spread of the virus, noting a “combination of masks, distancing and hygiene has been very effective.”
He also discussed how Massachusetts General Hospital is involved in clinical trials of drug combinations that may be able to blunt the impact of the virus’ worst effects; “and then there’s 101 companies now in the world pursuing vaccines, and many are [further] down the track than I think they thought they’d be.”
Pagliuca urged continued caution, however, noting “the virus is not defeated.”
With regards to his other, more popularly-known hat as a Celtics co-owner, he had some things to say about Boston and its soon-to-be-resumed season as well.
“We’re very excited the NBA announced yesterday at 22-team format. The goals of the tournament is for safety for the players and it’s going to be … in Orlando.
“Just players and staff and to maximize safety, but they’ve got a great facility down there. They’ve got to negotiate — all that’s not done yet — but hopefully we’ll be able to start up soon. The 22 teams came about from the principle of allowing six clubs who were less than than five games out [have a chance to make the playoffs].”
“So, our team is very excited to get back into action and our players are chomping to get back out there,” he finished.