The NFL’s first preseason begins in 2019 with the expected crowds as COVID-19 positives and Delta variant positives rise across America.
Some are concerned about the numbers, while others find them shockingly disappointing. Many ignore these numbers. It must be stressed that the data in the NFL is positive.
According to the league, more than 90% have completed or begun the vaccination process. Nine teams have over 95% of their players vaccinated. 27 teams are above 85%.
There have been positive cases in high-profile situations, including the whole Minnesota quarterbacks room. However, with all league and team personnel being required to be vaccinated (it remains optional for players), the league’s medical community is optimistic about the regular and preseason.
“We’re seeing fewer cases overall (with an intake) test than we did in 2020 which is more a snapshot” of the situation at training camps, stated Dr. Allen Sills. Sills is the league’s chief physician. Sills noted a lower incidence rate for positive COVID-19 test results, which he said “would indicate the effect of vaccination.” This is why I believe the incidence is lower.
“We are seeing cases among vaccine-vaccinated players, and they are asymptomatic for most; no one is severely ill.”
“There is very little of these cases overall, despite an incredible increase in the number and quality of contacts. We have many, many more contacts now than we did last year, which just means that despite having more exposures, we are not seeing an increase of cases.
Fans should not be concerned about the disruptions to the 2021 calendar due to the NFL’s changes to protocols which now allow more freedom for vaccinated athletes. Keep in mind that the NFL’s regular season and playoffs were completed on time during the peak of the pandemic. At the time, it didn’t know much about COVID-19 or its variants.
The league office has also warned of forfeits in the event that unvaccinated team members cause an outbreak, which could lead to postponement or cancellation of games. This is not good news for fans.
The suggested revision for this week’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction Celebrations might provide some insight into what may lie ahead.
Canton officials have suggested that face covers be worn for indoor activities as they fear the possibility of a “super spreader”. Friday’s Gold Jacket Dinner at the hall is a popular sellout. It is held in the Canton Memorial Civic Center. Social distancing is almost impossible because of this. After last year’s cancellation due to pandemic, this year’s dinner will include members from three classes: 2020 and 2021 as well as a special centennial class.
Many areas of the country are now recommending that face covers be required indoors by government officials and health officials. Some pockets of America are large and have suffered a slowdown in their vaccination rates.
These statistics and measures are known to the NFL. According to Dr. Deverick Anderson, the Duke Center for Antimicrobial Stewardship (Infection Prevention), the research could actually help communities fight a resurgence. Infection Control Education for Major Sports is also owned by Anderson.
Anderson stated that there were still unanswered questions at this point last year. “One of many unique aspects of the NFL’s program is that they are able to answer many unanswered questions. These are important not only for the environment, but also for public health.
Sills is confident that the league and the players’ association will continue to make such contributions.
“We believe we have a unique opportunity here. He stated that he doesn’t think there is anyone else testing large numbers of vaccinated, asymptomatic people like us with sensitive tests. “We will have a unique contribution, I believe, to our understanding of the meaning of a positive test in a vaccined individual and the ongoing protective effects.