NFL updates protocols in response to COVID-19 cases

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Posted at 4:37 PM, Dec 16, 2021

The NFL has updated its protocols in reaction to an increase in COVID-19 cases around the league, and it is pushing booster shots as the most effective protection against the coronavirus.

The league said the updated protocols would be enforced through Week 15 games and could be extended past that, if needed, the Associated Press reported.

News of the update comes after 36 players were added to COVID reserve lists on Monday, which is the most-ever single-day total since the league began testing for the virus last year.

As part of its protocol changes, the NFL requires masks regardless of vaccination status and remote or outdoor meetings.

It also is stopping in-person meals and prohibits outside visitors while on team travel.

The news outlet reported that the league also announced that it'd be easier for vaccinated and asymptomatic players to return to practice and games by immediately allowing for two PCR tests or two Mesa tests — or one of each — being negative.

Chief medical officer Allen Sills cited the omicron strain for the uptick in positive tests.

In July, the league announced that teams would have to forfeit and lose a game canceled because of a COVID-19 outbreak among their unvaccinated players.

No teams have had to forfeit a game this season.

The AP reported that 94.3% of players are vaccinated.

And only 126 out of the 2,208 players on 53-man active rosters and 16-man practice squads are unvaccinated.