I don’t know about you, but I would imagine that a lot of people were thinking, and hoping, that things would be better around the United States than they are right now relating to the coronavirus. By the end of the day, we will have more than 1.2 million active cases, adding another 26,000 yesterday, and another 809 deaths. We will also hit 120,000 deaths today. [Note, this was written Thursday, so numbers reflect Wednesday]
The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases has been consistently above 20,000 per day since the first day of April. Right now, it’s at the highest point that it has been in the past month, at over 24,000 on average per day over the past seven days (as of this writing). On the plus say, the seven-day average of deaths is also at its lowest point since the end of March, though it is still close to 700 per day.
This is why the league is contemplating its options about how to approach the season. Will fans be able to attend games? Will additional roster spots be needed? Should teams quarantine certain backups? How often do we need to test? Do we need additional player protection on the field, and of what nature? These are the questions that are being asked in the league office right now.
“We can’t figure out how to fit the virus into football, we have to figure out how we’re going to fit football into the virus”, said the medical director of the NFLPA, Thom May. “This is a bad-ass virus”.
More than 20 states have been seeing increases in new infections in recent weeks as they have begun to reopen. Some have had to put a pause on the process, or even walk back certain steps. The majority of new infections are now among younger people, a demographic that includes the likes of Ezekiel Elliott and Kareem Jackson.
Mayer said that the current plan is for players to be tested for Covid-19 about three times per week, and that all who come in contact with the players, including game officials, will also be subject to regular testing. He offered about a 90 percent degree of certainty that they would have sufficient numbers of reliable saliva tests available to teams by the time they begin to open training camps next month.
Of course, players who test positive will also be put into isolation, and they will not be cleared to return to their team until they are deemed clear of the virus. It won’t matter if it’s Marcus Allen or Patrick Mahomes. If you test positive, you’re not playing until you’re cleared.