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Dr. Allen Sills: “Zero indication” that COVID transmits in practices or games

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The NFL and the NFL Players Association have thrown in the towel on their 2021 COVID protocol, once principle got in the way of the practicalities of profit and paycheck. With, as one source with knowledge of the negotiations put it, the pandemic now becoming endemic, the time had come to quit worrying about the possibility of vaccinated, asymptomatic players being positive for the virus.

So instead of finding a way for the vaccinated and asymptomatic who have tested positive to play, the league and the union decided to approach it in a different way. They’ll stop testing the vaccinated and asymptomatic.

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer explained to Peter King that the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, which causes few if any symptoms in most vaccinated persons, forced the league and the union abandon the approach of testing everyone and removing from the workplace anyone who generates a positive.

“Maybe it will turn out that vaccinated players with Omicron will transmit the virus in practice or in games,” Sills said. “If so, the NFL’s got to change, fast. But so far, there’s zero indication the virus is transmitted on the field. And the vast majority of players aren’t sick at all.”

That’s an important point. The league will be monitoring the spread of the current variant and the inevitable evolution of the virus for signs that it’s getting worse. The fact that players, coaches, and staff who are vaccinated will either have no symptoms or will conceal the symptoms they have make it more inevitable that the virus will indeed continue to spread.

“I still think players who aren’t feeling well will self-report,” Dr. Sills told King. “They don’t want to get their teammates sick.”

Sorry, but that’s just not the case. With high-stakes games currently happening and the playoffs looming, players who aren’t feeling well will not self-report. They’ll conceal. They’ll assume that they won’t get their teammates sick, due to vaccines or the general health and vigor of pro athletes. People around the league are already quietly acknowledging this reality.

The goal continues to be getting through the season. With the latest changes to the protocol, that likely will happen. And the only thing that will stop it at this point is a mutation of the virus into the thing that causes the zombie apocalypse.


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