One very important step in the process of having training camps that will be as normal as possible is currently underway, which is the NFLPA reviewing and approving the Infectious Disease Emergency Response plans of each and every NFL team. All 32 teams have submitted their IDER plans, which have been given the approval of Dr. Allen Sills, the league’s chief medical advisor, but the union is still going through them.
According to the NFLPA’s own website, they have currently approved of eight of the 32 proposed plans, and have yet to reject any of them, as there were still 24 listed as being under review. So, with training camps set to open in less than a week, they still have to go through three quarters of the plans.
While training camps technically open on the 28th, however, not much will happen for a while, so that gives them extra time. Players will be tested on the first day, and then will self-quarantine for three days and then be tested again. Only after two consecutive negative tests will that player be permitted to enter the team facility.
That window presumably gives the union extra time to review the IDER plans, and perhaps gives any team that might have its plan rejected enough time to revise it and have it approved by the time that players will be expected to engage in any type of football activity.
Also worthy of note is the fact that the NFLPA website states that there have been 59 known positive Covid-19 tests among players, leaguewide. This is lower than what had been initially reported. In fact, earlier in the day, they accidentally listed it as 95. I believe the original listing was 72, and then was changed to 67. It’s unclear why the number has gone down multiple times.
What’s important to note about this number, however, is that it doesn’t really mean much. This just means that the NFLPA is aware of 59 cases in which a player went to get a Covid-19 test and informed the union or otherwise the general public that they tested positive.
This has nothing to do with the Covid-19 testing that players will undergo when they begin reporting on July 25. It’s likely that the vast majority of players have never taken a Covid-19 test and thus have no idea if they have been exposed. These are just cases that they know about that have been self-reported.
The league is bracing for a high number of initial positive tests, which we have seen in every other major sport. The MLS, for example, had to remove two teams from a warm-up tournament because of the extent to which the virus had infiltrated their roster, but the trend has since significantly improved. The same can be said for the MLB, NHL, and NBA.