As the number of cases in the league continue to rise, the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols are getting tighter and tighter.
NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills on Thursday said the league now will require all sick players and staff to self-isolate should they experience any COVID-19 symptoms, according to ESPN. This applies even if their latest test was negative.
“We’re always going to err on the side of safety and we’re going to support the medical judgment of the medical staff,” Sills told reporters. “Everyone has the same goal here and that’s to operate as safely as we can. … When you look at the big picture, our goal is to make sure we don’t put someone on the field that we think might be actively infected. If we’re going to make a mistake, we would rather make a mistake on the side of being cautious and keeping people off the field. If it turns out that those were non-COVID symptoms, I think we would all be happy with that outcome.”
With the fall and winter comes cold and flu season, further complicating things for the NFL as it attempts to finish the 2020 season in full. The heightened risk for illness likely will result in a spike in absences from practices and games as players get sick, whether it’s COVID-19-related or not.
The NFL’s regular season currently is scheduled to run through Jan. 3, 2021, and the Super Bowl is slated for Feb. 7 — unless COVID-19 says otherwise. But hopefully, this policy will help keep the league’s season on track.