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The NFL’s New COVID-19 Protocols for Vaccinated Players Explained

The NFL released a memo on Thursday updating the regulations for vaccinated players returning from COVID-19 protocols.

The league‘s previous COVID-19 protocols were that vaccinated players and staff needed to produce two negative tests separated by 24 hours and be free of symptoms to return earlier than a 10-day quarantine period. 

On Thursday, the NFL announced that vaccinated players and staff who are asymptomatic for at least 24 hours can return as soon as the day after their initial positive test from one of the league‘s three options outlined in the memo. 

Players can receive two PCR test results that are either negative or produce Cycle Threshold values of 35 or greater. Secondly, a player or team staff member can receive one PCR test result that is either negative or produces CT values of 35 or greater and a negative Mesa test result from a test taken within 24 hours of the PCR test. Both tests can be taken at the same time or less than 24 hours apart.

Thirdly, a player of staff member can receive two negative Mesa test results that may be taken concurrently but must be two separate swabs. 

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With dozens of players currently on the league‘s COVID-19 list, the NFL put these protocols in action effective immediately.

Browns star quarterback Baker Mayfield did not like the league‘s stance on the latest COVID-19 outbreak.

Mayfield, Browns backup quarterback Case Keenum along with several Cleveland players have recently tested positive for COVID-19, but the NFL has not discussed moving the Raiders-Browns to another day.

Mayfield thinks the league should consider it.

“Actually caring about player safety would mean delaying the game with this [COVID-19] continuing at the rate it is,” Mayfield said in a tweet. “But to say you won‘t test vaccinated players if they don‘t have symptoms, then to pull this randomly. Doesn’t make any sense to me.”

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