The NFL made it via final winter’s postseason event and Tremendous Bowl with out encountering schedule disruptions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and did not must cancel any video games this previous fall due to the virus. Whereas there have been issues rising coronavirus circumstances attributable to the extremely contagious Omicron variant coupled with potential pandemic-related attendance restrictions in California may trigger the league to maneuver Tremendous Bowl LVI from SoFi Stadium, it was confirmed Thursday that no such plans exist heading into the opening spherical of this 12 months’s playoffs.
NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills spoke with Sam Farmer and Melissa Healy of the Los Angeles Instances for a bit printed Friday and stated he is “guardedly optimistic” the league can get via the upcoming playoffs with out important points or setbacks.
“We pivoted away from kind of a broad surveillance the place we had been testing unvaccinated folks daily and vaccinated folks as soon as per week,” Sills stated of the league’s strategy amid the Omicron an infection wave. “We’ve finished what we name a strategic and focused program, the place we’re nonetheless testing unvaccinated each day, however we’re now not doing random surveillance testing. We’re focusing on folks with signs and asking them to come back ahead and be examined. I believe that that has been a giant success.”
Sills added that 94% of NFL gamers, coaches, and employees members are thought of absolutely vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, whereas others just lately contaminated even have some immunity. However, it is anticipated groups will encourage gamers to put on masks and follow social distancing when away from football-related actions in an try to stop outbreaks amongst rosters via postseason play.
“I consider that now we have a strong plan in place and we’ve proven that we are able to adapt and regulate as the information leads us,” Sills continued. “However we’ve additionally stated that we’re at all times going to answer the information and what it’s exhibiting us, and we’re going to work with public well being authorities and guarantee that we’re respecting their directives and in addition supporting the messaging that should exit.”
As Michael David Smith wrote for Professional Soccer Discuss, logic suggests a minimum of some gamers will elect in opposition to self-reporting COVID-19 signs to keep away from probably testing optimistic for the virus throughout crucial a part of the NFL 12 months. That is a threat the league is keen to take roughly one month forward of Tremendous Bowl Sunday.