Perhaps COVID-19 germs will isolate in the coming weeks as the National Football League (NFL) ended daily testing of players during the league playoffs.
According to reports in the Associated Press and the Washington Post, league officials announced the end of scheduled testing in a memo sent to all 32 football teams. The Friday memo reportedly said NFL and players union medical experts agreed to the testing change. They have seen sufficient decreases in positive tests during the last month that they feel comfortable dropping the daily test, the AP noted.
Weekly testing for vaccinated players and personnel ended last month, the AP said.
“Following consultation with our jointly retained infectious disease experts, the NFL and NFL Players Association have updated the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 protocols to eliminate the distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated players to determine testing cadence,” the memo reportedly said. “Effective immediately, all players and tiered staff will be subject to strategic and targeted testing.”
Symptom-based testing and screening for symptoms by the league will reportedly continue.
“This comprehensive, symptom-based approach to testing reflects our recent experience with the omicron variant and conforms to current public health recommendations and best practices employed in healthcare, and offers the best opportunity for identifying and treating cases promptly and avoiding spread within the facility,” the memo stated.
“I don’t know if it’s behind us, but we’re certainly seeing it on the way down,” Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, told an NFL network reporter Thursday. “And I think it’s the result of a couple of those measures that you mentioned — first of all, that a lot of people have been affected and infected over the past few weeks but also the mitigation measures we have in place.”
“We’re still putting masks on everybody inside the team facility,” explained Sills. “Everybody is being very careful. And I think you also see self-regulation of behavior this time of year.”
“People just are not going out,” he added. “They’re limiting community exposure.”