NFL Adds Mask Requirement, Boosts Covid Testing

The NFL has strengthened its Covid-19 protocols and recommended easing testing for player families and other employees as the number of positive cases across the country increases and people plan to rally for Thanksgiving.

Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should wear masks at team facilities from November 25 to December 1, and all players, coaches and support personnel should also be tested for coronavirus on November 29 and December 1 after vaccination. Thanksgiving weekend.

Unvaccinated players and football personnel, the most essential personnel, who are in the league’s Tier 1 designation this season, must be tested every day. Those vaccinated should be tested at least once a week and potentially further if they are symptomatic or have close contact with someone who has tested positive.

With Wednesday’s protocol update, unvaccinated players must wait for their results before entering a team facility, while vaccinated players and staff can enter their facility but must remain masked while awaiting results.

In a memo sent to all 32 teams on Tuesday night, the league also urged clubs to establish direct testing facilities for players, staff, and any friends and family who may visit them for the holidays.

The league also reminded its teams of the current bans aimed at reducing potential coronavirus exposure. Unvaccinated players must not assemble in groups of more than three people outside the team facility; Visit a nightclub or bar with more than 10 people; attending concerts and other events; or attend parties if they are not wearing masks in homes with more than 15 people.

The league’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills said the NFL is tightening restrictions because the league has had the highest number of confirmed positive coronavirus tests in the past two weeks. “This was not a complete surprise to us, as our numbers reflect the number of cases in the country,” he said.

Between 31 October and 13 November, NFL had 81 confirmed positive cases, 34 players and 47 staff, the most in any two-week period this season. Players affected included high-profile starters like Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa, and the Cleveland Browns, who beat Nick Chubb.

In the previous two-week periodThere were 35 confirmed positive cases, including 11 players.

There were more than 85,000 positive cases in the United States, an 18 percent increase in the 14-day period ending Tuesday. According to data collected by The New York Times. The number of cases rose the fastest in the Midwest and Northeast, where cold weather has pushed people to spend more time indoors.

According to the NFL, about 94 percent of all players and nearly all coaches and staff have been vaccinated, so many of the league’s infected personnel have experienced milder symptoms. Sills said Wednesday that the virus had not spread uncontrollably at team facilities, and that in some mild cases, players, coaches and staff who had been vaccinated were able to return in less than the 10 days predicted, as they had tested negative twice in two seasons. day period.

League spokesman Jeff Miller said the implementation of stricter protocols was not in response. Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers’ unvaccinated quarterback, who has tested positive for coronavirus two weeks ago and later fined $14,650 for non-compliance with Covid-19 protocols agreed upon by the league and players association.

The Packers were fined $300,000 for not monitoring players’ compliance with the rules.

The league said it would “regularly review footage from security cameras at club facilities” to enforce toughened protocols and penalize players and clubs “as warranted”. Teams must install cameras in their weight rooms and cafeterias and store video from these cameras for 30 days, as the league may need to review them.

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