The NFL made it by way of final winter’s postseason event and Super Bowl with out encountering schedule disruptions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and did not must cancel any video games this previous fall due to the virus. While there have been concerns rising coronavirus circumstances attributable to the extremely contagious Omicron variant coupled with potential pandemic-related attendance restrictions in California might trigger the league to maneuver Super Bowl LVI from SoFi Stadium, it was confirmed Thursday that no such plans exist heading into the opening spherical of this yr’s playoffs. 

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills spoke with Sam Farmer and Melissa Healy of the Los Angeles Times for a chunk printed Friday and mentioned he is “guardedly optimistic” the league can get by way of the upcoming playoffs with out important points or setbacks. 

“We pivoted away from sort of a broad surveillance where we were testing unvaccinated people every day and vaccinated people once a week,” Sills mentioned of the league’s method amid the Omicron an infection wave. “We’ve done what we call a strategic and targeted program, where we’re still testing unvaccinated daily, but we’re no longer doing random surveillance testing. We’re targeting people with symptoms and asking them to come forward and be tested. I think that that has been a big success.” 

Sills added that 94% of NFL gamers, coaches, and workers members are thought-about absolutely vaccinated in opposition to COVID-19, whereas others not too long ago contaminated even have some immunity. Nevertheless, it is anticipated groups will encourage gamers to put on masks and follow social distancing when away from football-related actions in an try to forestall outbreaks amongst rosters by way of postseason play. 

“I believe that we have a solid plan in place and we’ve shown that we can adapt and adjust as the data leads us,” Sills continued. “But we’ve also said that we’re always going to respond to the data and what it’s showing us, and we’re going to work with public health authorities and make sure that we’re respecting their directives and also supporting the messaging that needs to go out.” 

As Michael David Smith wrote for Pro Football Talk, logic suggests not less than some gamers will elect in opposition to self-reporting COVID-19 signs to keep away from probably testing optimistic for the virus throughout an important a part of the NFL yr. That’s a danger the league is keen to take roughly one month forward of Super Bowl Sunday. 

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