NFL could shorten the time period for return of vaccinated, asymptomatic players who test positive

In this photo illustration a medical syringe and vials are
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The NFL saw another wave of COVID-19 positive tests Wednesday, with 31 players going on the reserve list. Roughly 100 have tested positive the past three days. It now has five teams in enhanced protocols, according to the NFL’s chief medical officer.

The league had discussions at their winter meetings on how to get through the season.

The league is considering allowing vaccinated players who test positive for the virus but are asymptomatic to rejoin team activities sooner. Currently, a vaccinated player who tests positive needs consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart to return.

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said two-thirds of players who tested positive the past two days were asymptomatic and the others had mild symptoms.

“We’re always looking at that aspect of how we return someone,” Sills said. “What’s the goal there? You’re trying to return someone when it’s safe for them, when they are no longer a risk to themselves or to others. We have to learn and evaluate that against the data that’s coming out. So we study our returns very carefully, and we look at that in light of those outcome measures.

“I think those are ongoing discussions and things that we’ll consider. But again, it’s not about how soon we get them back. We want to bring them back when it’s safe for them and when they are not a risk to others in terms of transmission. We just have to update that now based on what we’re seeing with this new variant and its effect.”

The NFL will seek guidance from public health authorities before changing the time period for a return of a vaccinated, asymptomatic player who has tested positive. Perhaps the league will have enough time before the postseason to consult with experts and make the change.

“We’re entering a new phase of the pandemic, something that’s different than what we’ve seen before,” Sills said. “Really, the rules have changed. The dynamics of the pandemic have changed for us. I think that’s going to cause us to challenge some of our previous assumptions and also update our strategies and our solutions. . . . I think we can’t apply 2020 solutions to the 2021 problems that we’re having. We need to thoughtful address the situation as we see it.”

2 responses to “NFL could shorten the time period for return of vaccinated, asymptomatic players who test positive

  1. Vaccinated people can get and transmit the virus the same as an unvaccinated, so why the double standard. I understand that vaccinated players should have less severe symptoms but it doesn’t keep them any more susceptible to getting it and spreading it. Once you have it you have natural antibodies to that varient.

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