As the nation continues to get a grip on the realities of COVID-19, more widely known as the coronavirus, the NFL is paying attention.
“We are closely monitoring developments and have been in contact with The World Health Organization, CDC and the NFL-NFLPA medical experts at the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON) Program for Infection Prevention,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT on Sunday via email. “We will continue those discussions throughout our offseason.”
The question was raised specifically in the context of the league meetings, which are due to begin four weeks from today in Palm Beach. With plenty of owners who have one or more risk factors for a bad outcome to COVID-19, it makes plenty of sense for the league to pay careful attention to the spread, and to be ready to make appropriate changes to the planned meetings in the event that, as expected by many experts, things get worse over the course of the next few weeks.
The other question becomes whether the virus survives beyond the period of time typically regarded as cold and flu season. If it lingers or intensifies beyond April 1, large public gatherings like the draft and, eventually, preseason and regular-season games could be affected in a very negative way.