New CDC guidelines drive potential changes to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols that will reduce the isolation period from 10 days to five days, NFL Networks’ Tom Pelissero reported Tuesday.
The changes are currently being discussed between the league, its medical experts and the NFLPA. The move could allow players who test positive on a Monday to play on a subsequent Sunday, although it is not yet clear whether unvaccinated players will get the same opportunity, Pelissero added.
Record-breaking 106 players were placed on the reserve / COVID-19 list on Monday, the third Monday in a row for a record-high, according to Pelissero.
On Tuesday, Colts starting quarterback Carson Wentz placed on the list. Some top players placed on the COVID-19 list on Monday include Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans, Patriots edge rusher Matt Judon, Titans wide receiver Julio Jones, Colts offensive tackle Braden Smith and Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation, based on its current understanding of the Omicron variant, calls for a five-day isolation for people who test positive if they are asymptomatic, followed by five days of mask wearing when they are around others.
Earlier this month, the NFL updated its COVID-19 policy to allow vaccinated individuals to “test” the protocols more quickly, provided the person is fully vaccinated and asymptomatic. Unvaccinated players currently have to miss 10 days if they test positive for the virus.
The latest discussions come after a flurry of recent positive tests that required adjustments to the NFL’s Week 15 schedule in the form of three postponed games. The NFL implemented improved protocols the following day that included changes in the test cadence for fully vaccinated, asymptomatic players and staff.