If the NFL said to me, we are having the season, now tell us what we need to do to curb the coronavirus, this is what I would do:
1) No fans in attendance – which that in itself is sad because no fans in the stands would just suck the life out of the game
2) Cut pre-season, by at least 2 games
3) Player testing every day – more on this in a little bit, because testing is a whole nother issue
4) Symptom screening – this includes temp checks twice a day, even though a high percentage of infections are asymptomatic
5) If someone tests positive, that means they cant play for at least 2 weeks, and must test negative and have no symptoms before returning
6) Which brings up another issue, you’re going to have to expand your roster because of absentees due to players who have the virus. More people on the team, more spread
7) No Thursday games, because logistics are already hard enough as it is
8) Masks for everyone not wearing a helmet, including when players take off their helmet on the sidelines, and in the locker room
9) Social distancing (except practice/games)
10) Modified face masks, helmets with shields for everyone
11) Screen for vitamin D deficiency (need at least 20 ng/ml, ideally 30 ng/dl)
12) Accept the risk that NFL players, and staff, could die as a result of the virus.
I wonder if NFL players/staff will be forced to sign a waiver form so the NFL won’t be liable?
Of course, even if this plan was executed perfectly, it will not 100% prevent the spread of the virus.
Some players, coaches, and staff will inevitably get it, and most likely, someone will be hospitalized and/or die as a result.
And how many hospitalizations will it take before the NFL says, we need to cancel the season?
Dr. Mike Hansen, MD
Internal Medicine | Pulmonary Disease | Critical Care Medicine
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