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COVID19 outbreaks causing havoc for league schedules and their protocols

There are two NFL games on Tuesday night, which is an eerie reminder that COVID19 outbreaks have retuned in professional sports. 47 NFL players were placed on the COVID19 inactive list on Monday alone, which is the most for the league in a single day since the pandemic began.

While a lot has changed since the original novel coronavirus outbreak in March of 2020, the latest developments with the Omicron variant are giving sports fans flashbacks, as leagues alter COVID19 protocols and schedules. The National Hockey League has decided to pause until December 27th after Tuesday, with over 50 postponed games in the league so far. The Florida Panthers season had already paused because of a COVID outbreak.

Through all this, the NFL and it’s players union have agreed to scale back testing for vaccinated players, with emphasis on players showing symptoms and the unvaccinated. One local infectious disease specialist warns against leagues letting their guard down, even with high vaccination rates among players.

“Eventually, even if it is less able to cause severe disease,” says Dr. Kleper de Almeida. “It will find a person who might succumb to severe disease, and we’ll be sorry (when it’s too late). If folks would like to continue running the leagues, and not have so many players out sick, they will have to come up with some restrictive strategy to prevent contact with the greater population and prevent contagion.”

95 percent of NFL players are currently vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the NHL and their Players Association have agreed to not have their players participate in the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics. What was supposed to be the Olympic break in February will now be used by the NHL to reschedule those postponed games.

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