NFL updates protocols in response to COVID-19 cases

In measures that reminded the atmosphere of the 2020 season, the NFL updated its protocols in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases, and will push the application of booster vaccines as the most effective measure against the coronavirus.

As part of its protocol changes, the league is requiring players, coaches and employees to wear face masks regardless of whether they are vaccinated. Likewise, it will request to privilege meetings at a distance or in the open air.

Collective lunches and visits from people outside the teams will end when they are traveling.

“Finally, and based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19,” the league said in a statement. “All of these changes are based on our strategy, backed by data and science, and whose primary goal is the safety of the entire NFL community.”

The updated protocols will have to be fulfilled from the matches of week 15, but they would remain in force or even harden at later dates.

Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical officer, said the omicron variant is “in many ways like a new disease that needs to be addressed.” This variant is attributed the significant increase in positive cases of COVID-19 in the facilities of the equipment, according to Sills.

This was not the situation with the previous positive cases, just after Thanksgiving, which is celebrated on the last Thursday of November.

The league and the players’ union, advised by independent authorities on infectious diseases, have developed a mechanism in the protocols, which would lead to shorter absences for people who test positive.

Before, a person vaccinated —whether a player, coach, executive or employee— and who tested positive, had to present two negative results in a 24-hour interval and be asymptomatic before receiving the go-ahead to return. From now on, the new protocols relax that requirement.

Thus, two PCR or Mesa tests —or one of each type— that are negative will suffice. The logistics for this may expedite the return of the players.

“We have to think differently about this phase of the pandemic,” Sills said. “We face a different kind of challenge, and in some ways this disease is almost different … And it’s going to require us to have a different strategy.”

On Thursday, the Chicago Bears were without their three coordinators due to COVID-19 protocols, just as they prepare for Monday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Chicago coach Matt Nagy said offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, defender Sean Desai and special teams Chris Tabor were remotely participating in meetings this week. It is unknown what his condition will be for the match.

The coronavirus has hit the Bears hard this week. This is one of many teams that have reported positive cases.

About 100 players from the 32 teams have tested positive.

Chicago placed five players on the COVID-19 list as of Monday and six in total. Now, the protocol has also included the coordinators.

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NFL updates protocols in response to COVID-19 cases