NFL, NFLPA To Conduct Daily COVID Tests Starting September
The NFL imposed strict health and safety protocols for training and games to be followed by staff, players, and guests. However, it looks like these protocols aren’t enough as 0.46% of all NFL personnel tested positive for COVID-19 since the season began.
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, released the following data during a conference call on Wednesday:
- Through Tuesday, the league had conducted 109,075 COVID-19 tests.
- The 0.46% positivity rate includes all players, coaches, and staffers.
- The player positivity rate has been 0.81%.
- During the initial intake process, the league tested 9,983 people. The positivity rate for those tests was 1.7% overall and 1.9% for players.
- The goal is, of course, to protect everyone and achieve zero cases for the entire season. Despite the low percentage of players, coaches, and staffers testing positive for the virus, the numbers aren’t good. As such, the NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to test players daily starting September 5.
NFLPA released the plan and agreement on Twitter. Addressing the NFL and its fans, the tweet says: “We have reached an agreement with the @NFL to continue daily testing through September 5th. We will continue to monitor positivity rates within each club and relevant information from each team community to inform our assessment of testing frequency ahead of the regular season.”
Both sides are in the process of finalizing the details of the plan, but the testing date is definite. The two parties originally agreed last July 20 to test players daily through a minimum of two weeks from the start of training camp. The initial plan is to reassess testing based on the number of positive cases in the entire league. It’s worth noting that from the beginning, the NFLPA wanted to continue the daily resting of players; it was part of their primary considerations during negotiations.
While waiting for the plans, teams imposed overtime schedules to protect players inside their buildings. While several players decided to skip the 2020 NFL season for safety purposes, teams such as the Los Angeles Chargers, Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, and Houston Texans haven’t recorded a positive test result in their facilities since the testing began.