IRVING, Texas — The NFL is planning “significant changes” to its COVID-19 protocols amid the worst three-day stretch for the league throughout the pandemic, an individual conversant in the plans advised The Associated Press on Wednesday evening.
The particular person, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of particulars haven’t been finalized, stated the league and the NFL Players Association are discussing three principal areas: testing protocols; return to play tips to permit asymptomatic gamers who’ve examined optimistic to return sooner; and inspiring booster photographs.
On Monday, the league knowledgeable coaches, front-office workers and different crew personnel to obtain a COVID-19 booster by Dec. 27. Players weren’t included within the mandate as a result of the league hasn’t mandated the vaccine.
The Rams defeated the Cardinals on Monday regardless of lacking a number of gamers as a consequence of COVID-19.
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The new coronavirus variant has been discovered among the many dramatic improve in COVID-19 circumstances within the NFL in what the league’s chief medical officer is looking a brand new part of the pandemic.
Dr. Allen Sills stated NFL homeowners had been advised in conferences Wednesday that booster photographs are the main focus of efforts to attenuate unfold, with Sills saying the omicron variant is predicted to develop into the dominant pressure within the U.S.
The league stated the variety of optimistic circumstances Monday and Tuesday ended up at 88, however with gamers coming and happening the checklist, about 100 is extra correct.
Still, Commissioner Roger Goodell stated there have been no plans to cancel or postpone Cleveland’s dwelling towards the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday. The Browns have 18 gamers, together with half their 22 starters, on the COVID-19 reserve checklist.
“Listen, we’ve raised this the last two years: It’s a challenge,” Goodell stated. “I think the things that made us successful was keeping safety first. Second, being willing to adapt at all times. It’s clear even in the last couple of weeks that the changes are pretty significant and different than they were before, and I think it calls to modifications to our protocols in general, and we’re working with the players association on that.”
Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield has joined a number of teammates on the COVID-19 checklist.
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Sills stated about two-thirds of the optimistic checks got here from folks with no signs. Asked if there was an opportunity the NFL would permit vaccinated gamers who examined optimistic to play in the event that they didn’t have signs, Sills stated discussions with the union had been ongoing.
“It’s not about how soon we get them back,” Sills stated. “We want to bring them back when it’s safe for them and when they are not at risk to others in terms of transmission.”
NFLPA President J.C. Tretter made one other plea for every day testing amid the COVID-19 surge, however Sills stated testing wasn’t one of the best ways to handle the league’s bigger concern of spreading the virus.
Sills stated gamers are testing optimistic extra typically than NFL workers, a change from early within the pandemic. In the previous week or so, in response to Sills, unfold inside crew services has been a much bigger concern than in the neighborhood.
Besides discussions with the union, Sills stated he’s making an attempt to make use of video to teach gamers concerning the additional shot.
“This is urgent for us, just as it always has been,” Sills stated. “And I think we’ve adapted and changed our protocols at each stage, just based on what the data is telling us and where it’s driving us with that. That’s what we’ll continue to do here.”
The Super Bowl will likely be at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles for the primary time this season. State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, will host its third Super Bowl after the 2022 season.