Irritation about NFL's COVID-19 approach is starting to show with Patriots
Curran: Patriots, irritated by NFL's approach to COVID-19, originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
After the team commutes to Kansas City for Monday night's game with the Chiefs, there's a rumble of disapproval from Foxboro.
After three Patriots now tested positive for COVID-19, a team source said Tuesday it was time for players and coaches to "worry about our health and safety first and not leave it to the league".
The Patriots will play the Denver Broncos in Gillette on Sunday. But with Stephon Gilmore, Cam Newton and Bill Murray, member of the training team, all testing positive and the team will not be at the facility until at least Friday, this game is in serious doubt.
Bill Belichick's press conference on Wednesday was canceled after an initial postponement. Belichick, who has been wearing two masks since Newton tested positive, firmly believes the Patriots are actively trying to fight off the virus.
Curran: The challenges for Belichick, patriots, keep increasing
During the first week of the training camp, Belichick said, “My impression is that as an organization, as a coaching staff, as supporters, as players, what we do and who does it and how we do it. When we do, we are productive. If there are any concerns or issues we will address them. But at the moment I think it's a good working environment. We will do a lot. "
Concerns were raised when Newton tested positive on Friday. Although there were no other positive results with the team or its staff as of Monday, the Patriots took the additional precaution that individuals were in close contact with the Kansas City flight on a separate plane.
That decision was undoubtedly influenced by the fact that the Tennessee Titans flew to an away game in Minnesota last week after a coach tested positive on a Friday. The number of cases for this team is now 22 members of the organization.
The CDC states on their website that testing may not detect the virus in the early stages of infection. The organization also states that the virus can be spread by asymptomatic people. It is also said that the mean incubation period is four to five days.
With all this information and the Tennessee precedent, why did the League think it advisable for the Patriots to fly to Kansas City and back?
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer, was asked to do so by Judy Battista of the NFL Network on Wednesday.
"Every time we have a positive test, we first go through a contact tracing log to see how many close contacts there might be, and that's exactly what we did in this case," he explained. “And when we checked, we received the information that there were no so-called“ high-risk ”close contacts. There were several other close contacts that were identified.
"All of these close contacts have been tested and verified according to our protocol," continued Sills. “We actually had four days to test them if you think about it. It was Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
"And we also took the extra step of checking the video at the Patriots facility to see if mask wearing was complied and if compliance was very high. Cam Newton was wearing a mask, he was wearing a tracking device and everyone around him wore a mask which gave us some comfort as we had no additional positive tests, the apparent adherence to the team and the way the close contacts were labeled to move forward. "
Perry: When can Newton, Gilmore return to Patriot teammates?
The distinction Sills makes regarding close “high risk” contacts was something I reached out to the League about because I hadn't heard that it was a factor.
The answer I got was this statement:
"As defined by CDC," Close contact "means living in the same household, being within six feet of someone for at least fifteen (15) minutes in a row, or being in direct contact with secretions from someone who is sick with COVID. 19 (e.g. cough). "
Apparently, the CDC is not addressing the threat posed by a group of incubating people barking plays for a few days. It also does not cover chest, fist, handshake, tackling, blocking, close breathing or other events that can occur during a week of exercise.
It would be for the league to potentially add these activities to the list rather than simply using the CDC definition.
But they don't.
As we're looking at this week and wondering if the NFL should have just taken a break from Patriots Chiefs, an old FRAM oil filter commercial comes to mind. The catch in the end? “You can pay me now. Or you can pay me later. "
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