10.2 C
Munich
Friday, October 30, 2020

Could the NFL postpone games this weekend? What we know about the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak

Must read

Candace Owens on Lil Wayne’s Trump support: Liberals laughed at idea of ‘Black Exit’ by Dems

Black Americans leaving the Democratic Party shows that liberals have done nothing for the Black community, author Candace Owens said Friday.“Do you remember two years ago I sat on that 'Fox & Friends' couch next to you and I said there will be a Black exit from the Democratic Party,” Owens told "Fox & Friends."“And I remember…

Disney World guest banned from park after allegedly ditching loaded gun behind planter, blaming it on her son

The trigger-happiest place on earth?A Georgia woman got herself banned from Disney World after allegedly stashing a loaded 9mm gun behind a planter outside the Magic Kingdom — and then attempting to blame it on her 6-year-old son.Marcia Temple, 27, was arrested on Oct. 8 by deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) after her…

Pro-Trump actress Kirstie Alley slams CNN’s COVID coverage: ‘Fear of dying is their mantra’

Pro-Trump actress Kirstie Alley bashed CNN on Friday morning after tuning into the liberal network to “get their viewpoint” about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and seeing constant fearmongering. “I now Know why my personal friends who walk around in SHEER TERROR of contracting Covid are simply CNN viewers! I decided to watch CNN myself to get a their…

50 Cent hints Lil Wayne made a mistake meeting President Trump: ‘Oh no’

50 Cent seems to be worried about Lil Wayne's meeting with President Trump, which took the Internet by storm on Thursday.Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., tweeted a photo of himself standing next to the president."Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to…

1:55 PM ET

  • Kevin SeifertESPN Staff Writer

    Close

    • ESPN.com national NFL writer
    • ESPN.com NFC North reporter, 2008-2013
    • Covered Vikings for Minneapolis Star Tribune, 1999-2008

The NFL has its first COVID-19 team outbreak. At least nine members of the Tennessee Titans have produced confirmed positive test results in the past four days, a rash of coronavirus infections that could potentially have spread during Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium.

The Titans have closed their practice facility until at least Saturday, while the Vikings have closed theirs until they have further test results. Decisions on both teams’ Week 4 games are pending.

Here’s what we know at the moment, with appropriate context. We will continue to update as news develops.

Jump to:


Timeline for return to facilities


Could games get postponed?

So this started with the Titans?

Yes. On Saturday, Titans linebackers coach Shane Bowen returned a confirmed positive test. The Titans received the results before they departed Nashville for Minneapolis, and Bowen was held back from making the trip.

Were the other eight Titans employees infected by Bowen?

We don’t know. What we do know is that the entire Titans traveling party was tested Saturday, as they would ordinarily be. The Titans had those results by Sunday morning. All were negative, meaning every coach, player and staff member was eligible for Sunday’s game.

The Titans stayed Saturday night at the JW Marriott, adjacent to the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, according to ESPN’s Courtney Cronin. League protocol requires all members of the traveling party to have their own rooms and also prohibits them from “congregating, visiting or mingling with individuals outside of the Traveling Party once they have arrived in the game city.”

On Sunday, they defeated the Vikings 31-30. The team flew home after the game ended.

So no one was tested Sunday?

Correct. The protocols call for daily testing on every day except game day. Neither the league nor the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has explained explicitly why, but timing is likely a substantial part of the answer. Results for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, performed on the morning of a game by nasal swab, probably wouldn’t be returned in time for kickoff.

Point of care (POC) tests have quicker results — PCR tests are usually returned overnight, whereas POC tests can be returned on the same day, and even before kickoff after a morning test — but are not as accurate. At this time, POC tests are only used to help confirm initial positive tests, and the NFL doesn’t yet trust them on their own. And the NFL likely didn’t want to sideline a player or coach based only off a POC test.

When were they next tested?

All Tier 1 and Tier 2 employees from the Titans and Vikings, which includes players and coaches, were tested Monday morning. Of the eight Titans who returned confirmed positive tests, three were players and five were employees. They have not been identified. None were displaying symptoms, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. No members of the Vikings returned positive tests.

What about the officials who worked the Titans-Vikings game Sunday?

Most officials travel home on the night of the game or the next morning. Per their protocol, they are tested twice per week — once in their hometowns and once on the day before games. Referee Clete Blakeman’s crew worked this game and will be tested daily this week. None of those officials will work a game in Week 4.

Does that mean the outbreak is contained?

No. General guidance from public health officials suggests it can take up to five to seven days for an infection to register in a test. That’s why the Titans’ facility is closed through at least Saturday. The NFL/NFLPA protocol calls for increased monitoring for eight days for anyone who had close contact with someone who returned a confirmed positive test.

How do they determine close contact?

The protocols follow CDC guidelines: within 6 feet apart for at least 15 minutes of an infected individual. The league identified 48 close contacts to monitor, based on contact tracing of the eight confirmed positive individuals, according to Graziano. It’s unclear if those are all members of the Titans, or if some are members of the Vikings.

That includes contact during a game as well as data recorded by mandatory proximity devices worn by all team employees before and after the game. Per the protocol, “Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2M and Tier 3 Individuals will also be required to wear Kinexon Proximity Recording tracking devices at all times while engaged in team activities (including in the Club facility, during practices, and during team travel).”

play

2:41

Dianna Russini explains the possible origin of the Titans’ coronavirus outbreak and why she doesn’t anticipate Tennessee playing its Week 4 game against Pittsburgh.

So did the virus find the one hole in the protocol?

If the Titans passed the infection to the Vikings, then yes. Games are the one point in the NFL week where social distancing is impossible, and the period when it’s most likely that an infected person will breathe on others. That’s part of the reason the NFL has insisted on coaches and other non-players wearing masks on the sideline.

The absence of game-day testing also heightens the risk. A POC test Sunday morning might have caught at least some of the positive results the Titans eventually recorded Monday.

Right. But it seemed as though the NFL protocols were working.

They were. As of Tuesday morning, there were only four players on the NFL’s COVID-19 list. Only seven players, and another 29 non-players, had returned positive results during the four testing periods from Aug. 12 through Sept. 19.

But as Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist at Oxford College of Emory University, said earlier this month: “An outbreak really can happen at any time.” It’s fair to wonder if this will prompt a shift to game-day testing.

When can the Vikings and Titans get back to their practice facilities?

We know the Titans won’t return before Saturday at the earliest. The Vikings’ return depends on whether they receive any confirmed positive results.

How long will the infected players and staff members be kept away from the team?

It’s complicated. Here is a flow chart for symptomatic and asymptomatic positive tests.

This graphic from the NFL protocols explains much of what the Titans and Vikings are doing now. pic.twitter.com/Z3JLQy43GZ

— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) September 29, 2020

What about their Week 4 games?

At the moment, both are still scheduled to play Sunday. That could change in the coming hours and days, however. One possibility, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, is to move the Titans’ game Sunday in Nashville against the Pittsburgh Steelers from Sunday to Monday. The Titans’ game could also easily be moved to Week 7, if the NFL moves the Steelers’ Week 7 game against the Baltimore Ravens into Week 8, when both have byes. A potential rescheduling of the Vikings’ game at the Houston Texans is less obvious.

The NFL formed an independent committee made up of unaffiliated former league officials to advise commissioner Roger Goodell on equity and fairness in these situations. One immediate question is whether it’s fair for the Titans to play the Steelers on Sunday if they have been away from their team facility, and thus unable to practice, all week.

Read More

- Advertisement -

More articles

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest article

Candace Owens on Lil Wayne’s Trump support: Liberals laughed at idea of ‘Black Exit’ by Dems

Black Americans leaving the Democratic Party shows that liberals have done nothing for the Black community, author Candace Owens said Friday.“Do you remember two years ago I sat on that 'Fox & Friends' couch next to you and I said there will be a Black exit from the Democratic Party,” Owens told "Fox & Friends."“And I remember…

Disney World guest banned from park after allegedly ditching loaded gun behind planter, blaming it on her son

The trigger-happiest place on earth?A Georgia woman got herself banned from Disney World after allegedly stashing a loaded 9mm gun behind a planter outside the Magic Kingdom — and then attempting to blame it on her 6-year-old son.Marcia Temple, 27, was arrested on Oct. 8 by deputies with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) after her…

Pro-Trump actress Kirstie Alley slams CNN’s COVID coverage: ‘Fear of dying is their mantra’

Pro-Trump actress Kirstie Alley bashed CNN on Friday morning after tuning into the liberal network to “get their viewpoint” about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and seeing constant fearmongering. “I now Know why my personal friends who walk around in SHEER TERROR of contracting Covid are simply CNN viewers! I decided to watch CNN myself to get a their…

50 Cent hints Lil Wayne made a mistake meeting President Trump: ‘Oh no’

50 Cent seems to be worried about Lil Wayne's meeting with President Trump, which took the Internet by storm on Thursday.Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., tweeted a photo of himself standing next to the president."Just had a great meeting with @realdonaldtrump @potus besides what he’s done so far with criminal reform, the platinum plan is going to…

Trevor Lawrence dealing with coronavirus: When can the Clemson QB return to the field?

Trevor Lawrence will not play for Clemson when the Tigers take on Boston College on Saturday.Lawrence tested positive for coronavirus, the team announced. It will keep him out of the game against the Eagles, allowing a younger quarterback to take the reins.CLEMSON'S TREVOR LAWRENCE TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUSClemson coach Dabo Swinney and Lawrence released statements on…