Bubble approach working as NHL has gone weeks without a positive test

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The NFL saw only one player — Titans linebacker Josh Smithplaced on reserve/COVID-19 on Monday. In 16 days, 106 players have gone on the list, with 75 activated off it.

The Dolphins (14), Jaguars (12) and Lions (eight) have had the most reserve/COVID-19 cases, Howard Balzer of SI.com reports.

Twenty-one NFL players who have gone on the list have remained on it for a total of 255 days, an average of 12.1 days, according to Balzer.

The NFL, like Major League Baseball, does not have a bubble. The will try to mitigate the virus while players are going about their lives outside the team facility.

The NHL, like the NBA, has a bubble, and it has worked spectacularly. Hockey, entering its third week in the bubble, has not seen a positive COVID-19 test in weeks, ESPN reports.

Of course, it probably helps that the teams are in Canada, with hub zones in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta.

The first week of testing in Phase 4 of the NHL’s return-to-play protocol produced zero positive tests out of 7,703, according to ESPN. That followed Phase 3 — when teams returned to training camps at their home base — which produced two positive results among 6,874 total tests administered.

“I really think the bubble approach is the best path forward, at least given this point in time during the global pandemic,” Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious disease expert based in Toronto who consulted for the NHLPA, told ESPN. “Of course we know it’s not going to be perfect. I think we’re all talking about risk mitigation, not risk elimination. With these careful protocols, careful testing, with symptom checks, with good communication, I think we’re starting to see the bubble approach — not only in hockey, but also in basketball and soccer — really be the best approach while these case numbers are this high, globally.”

It’s too late for the NFL to go to a bubble, so it will be up to players to do the right things away from team facilities.

6 responses to “Bubble approach working as NHL has gone weeks without a positive test

  1. Do not like Bettman, but he and Silver in the NBA get a ton of credit, while Manfred and Goodell and their hubris, do not. They failed.

  2. New Zealand hasn’t had a positive test in 100 days. The virus isn’t undefeated. It’s like anything else. You just have to have the desire to win.

  3. Said this before and will say this again. They could have had a bubble approach for training camp. Picked a University or any location with facilites and housing – bubbled players and staff including all ancillary staff and medical staff – food, housing, training room and work out staff. Put all the players into University dorms or bring in trailers or rent adjacent hotel rooms ( a la NHL). And done training camp that way – with all the relevant testing. This also can be done post training camp – at least until the virus situation stabalizes. That again would entail – bubbling the players at home. Charter flights and hotels at the visiting teams cities. All with appropriate employees who have been quarantined ( or maybe rapid tested as negative). As a far as having fans in the stands – if they limit the number and ensure the physical spacing and ensure that the methodology for entering and leaving the park ( not the uncontrolled manner that NASCAR did). They should be able to have 10 or 15 thousand in most parks safely.

  4. IMO, the NFL and college sports should be calling the nhl for tips on how to deal with the coronavirus

  5. “Do not like Bettman, but he and Silver in the NBA get a ton of credit, while Manfred and Goodell and their hubris, do not. They failed.”

    Manfred’s failure is at a whole different level. MLB didn’t even have places lined up to run their tests when they restarted. As much as I dislike Goodell, I can’t really fault him for much when it comes to the virus. The NFL cannot do a bubble for a full regular season with the number of players and teams they have–completely different from what the NHL and NBA are doing. They’re going to have bumps in the road but they’re fortunate because MLB handled things so badly that essentially anything looks better in comparison.

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