Josina Anderson: Breaking down the NFL’s COVID-19 problem, protocols

Josina Anderson
USA TODAY Sports Plus

The NFL is experiencing a new wave of COVID-19 impact across the league. Several teams are dealing with positive tests amid postseason pushes. Teams such as the Cleveland Browns and Washington Football Team have been hit the hardest.

More than 100 NFL players have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list since Monday. The names include major superstars like Von Miller, Odell Beckham Jr., Jalen Ramsey and Baker Mayfield, among numerous others.

As a result, the NFL decided to alter its COVID-19 protocols after several team owners met in Dallas. The NFL is now requiring masks regardless of vaccination status and placed restrictions on activities outside the team facilities.

PLAY ON: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell says that game postponement is not on the table 

One of the biggest changes was the testing protocol. Vaccinated players who test positive will now require one negative test before gaining clearance to play. This is a change from the previous protocol that called for two negative tests 24 hours apart.

The NFLPA continues to talk with the league about daily testing. They expressed concerns prior to the season about how the virus can spread among vaccinated individuals.

The NFL said the changes in protocol are necessary steps in combating the increasing cases. The league mentioned the changes are focused on safety and health.

“We have to think differently about this phase of the pandemic,” Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said this week. “We are facing a different set of challenges and in some ways almost a different disease ... and it is going to require a different (strategy) from us.”

A lot of eyes will be watching how the NFL moves forward in coming weeks.