Renowned sports bettor and Boston resident Rufus Peabody said on Twitter Friday that he had recovered from coronavirus.
“I’m back to normal, everyone,” Peabody wrote. “Public Health informed me I’m no longer a corona person. Appreciate all the well wishes.”
Peabody announced just last week that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He believes he may have contracted the virus at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston – which was held on March 6 and 7.
“My symptoms: I felt very tired and worn out all weekend, which I thought was due to a combination of travel and a bad night’s sleep,” Peabody tweeted. “I woke up with an ‘eye headache’ (and sore eyes) on Saturday. I think I had a low-grade fever on Sunday (3/8). By Tuesday I was back to normal.
“A week ago, I would have laid a big price that I didn’t have coronavirus,” he continued. “It just goes to show that it can be suuuper mild. The big symptoms for me that I haven’t heard many people talk about are an ‘eye headache’ (that lasted <48 hrs) and a loss of my sense of taste.”
MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference
On Friday night, March 6, hundreds of people that attended the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference in Cambridge also attended that evening’s Celtics game in Boston against the Utah Jazz. Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who played that night against the Celtics, announced five days later that he had tested positive for coronavirus.
Celtics guard Marcus Smart also tested positive the following week.
The Sloan conference continued that Saturday in Cambridge.
Dodging a bullet
NBC Sports writer Tom Haberstroh was among those who attended and recently gave a run-down of the climate at the event in regards to the pandemic:
“On March 5, much of the NBA world descended upon Boston. I was among them.
“It was time for the 14th annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which draws hundreds of sports media and top executives from all around the world for the two-day event. The Sloan Conference, co-founded by Rockets GM Daryl Morey, has become a tentpole networking event in the NBA schedule sandwiched between the All-Star Weekend in February and the NBA combine in May.
“Top executives from the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Rockets were set to speak at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center this year. Players such as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari, Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown and Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter were also scheduled to attend. Media from just about every national outlet was expected to be present.
“But on that Thursday night, concern rippled among the attendees following an ominous public announcement from MIT:
“Effective immediately, if you are planning any in-person MIT event with more than 150 attendees that will take place between now and Friday, May 15, on campus or off campus, you must postpone, cancel or virtualize it.
“Panic began to set in. Attendees quickly pinged each other about whether to make the trip. Eventually, word trickled in that the Sloan Conference — with over a thousand attendees expected — would be an exception to the decree. Friday and Saturday’s events would go on as planned, despite MIT’s alert on Thursday night.
“And so Friday’s events kicked off with a full slate of panels beginning at 8 a.m. ET and ending at 6:15 pm ET. Hundreds and hundreds of rows of seats would be occupied by attendees, most of them packed close together. In hallways, people awkwardly elbow-bumped each other in lieu of handshakes. Convention workers wiped down handrails on escalators and door handles throughout the day.
“Following a dozen panels on the first day of Sloan,, a horde of NBA media hopped in Ubers and traveled across town to cover the Boston Celtics’ Friday night game.
“The Utah Jazz.
“Gobert played in that game and finished with nine points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes. It’s not clear if Gobert was infected or contagious at that point. But the NBA’s new media rules, which banned media in locker rooms as a temporary precaution, wouldn’t go into effect until days later on Monday. At that point, the media was free to visit with players in the locker room.
“And visit they did. At least one Sloan attendee talked directly to Gobert up close on Friday and possibly more. After that game in Boston, Gobert and his Utah teammates flew to Detroit and the writer returned to his hotel ahead of the next day’s slate of Sloan events.
“On Saturday, the conference went on as planned, with several attendees having been around the Jazz the night before and mingling with the hundreds of conference-goers the very next day. By nature, a conference is a networking event, a chance for strangers to get to know each other, exchange business cards, shake hands and travel back home. But now, it feels like something very different.
“The Jazz played the Pistons on Saturday night. They played the Toronto Raptors on Monday in Utah. They were supposed to play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday before the game was called off at the last moment.
“On Wednesday night, the Raptors told their players to self-quarantine for 14 days, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The Celtics, the team that hosted Gobert’s Jazz, were also told to self-quarantine, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
“And now all I can think of is those thousands of people at those games and at the conference. Surely, they’re wondering the same thing I am: When did Gobert become infected? Am I next?”
Massachusetts still being hit hard
A bullet was seemingly dodged at the Sloan Conference as the positive cases stemming from the event were minimal, particularly when compared to Biogen conference outbreak in Boston. Over 100 cases of COVID-19 were attributed to the corporate meeting that took place in late February.
As of Saturday, March 28, Massachusetts had 4,257 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with a death toll of 44.
All three Massachusetts casinos, Encore Boston, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino, have been indefinitely closed since March 15.