CDC may add negative test to new five-day rule; would NFL follow suit?

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The CDC giveth. The CDC partially taketh away. Possibly.

The federal agency in charge of the pandemic response gave the NFL a belated Christmas gift last Monday by reducing the isolation period after a COVID diagnosis from 10 days to five. The NFL and NFL Players Association immediately adopted the five-day rule on Tuesday. Now, the CDC may attach another requirement to the five-day isolation period — a negative COVID test.

The move may happen after the agency received significant “pushback” in response to last week’s move.

“There has been some concern about why we don’t ask people at that five-day period to get tested,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said, via the Associated Press. “Looking at it again, there may be an option in that, that testing could be a part of that. And I think we’re going to be hearing more about that in the next day or so from the CDC.”

The NFL currently allows players to return after five days as long as they are not suffering from symptoms. Requiring a negative test would make it harder for players to return, which would complicate efforts by the NFL to get players back sooner than later. In turn, that will result in more players being unavailable to play in Week 18 and/or the postseason.