It looks like things are happening in the NFL.
A day after NFL players coordinated a Twitter campaign to raise concerns about the lack of COVID-19 protocols put in place for the league’s impending start, the league and NFL Players’ Association reportedly have agreed on testing protocols.
And as first reported Monday by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, players will be tested daily through the first two weeks at camp. And,based on the numbers, the league potentially will test less frequently.
“The NFL and NFLPA agreed to daily COVID-19 testing for the first 2 weeks of camp, after which they’ll look at positivity rates,” Pelissero reported via Twitter. “If the rate drops below 5% for players and Tier 1/Tier 2 individuals, they’ll move to every other day. Important deal as talks continue on other issues.”
Following the lead of other professional sports leagues, players must test negative for the novel coronavirus multiple times before they’re allowed in team facilities for physicals or other team activities.
NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills expects test results within 24 hours, and as Pelissero noted, resources to accomplish this will not be taken from the supply of local hospitals or health centers.
“The NFL contracted with a national lab to make sure their testing needs didn’t take resources away from local markets, which Dr. Sills said was ‘a driving force for us,'” Pelissero said. “No negative impact on local supply for hospitals, etc.”
Per Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press, Dr. Sills sees “no finish line with health and safety” protocols.
Sills said that as medical professionals and the league continue to learn more about the virus, its transmission and testing, these initial measures put in place are subject to change.
“Everything that we’re doing is centered around the concept of risk mitigation,” Sills said, via Maaddi. “We know that we can’t eliminate risk, but we’re trying to mitigate it as much as possible for everyone. We know that this is going to be a shared responsibility.”
Of course, there are many more details to be worked out before the NFL can be deemed safe to proceed with its season.
But this is a good start.