NFL halts daily Covid testing of unvaccinated players: report


The NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to halt daily testing of unvaccinated players for Covid-19 and will test them on the same basis as those vaccinated, ESPN reported Friday.

The sports website obtained a memo sent Friday to NFL clubs saying that unvaccinated players would now be tested, like others, if they report symptoms.

ESPN, citing an unnamed source, reported that with eight teams left in the playoffs -- which will be halved after this weekend's four games -- there are only about a dozen unvaccinated players still in action.

They include Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who had a 90-day testing exemption after a positive case that is due to expire soon.

Rodgers leads the Packers against the San Francisco 49ers in the second round of the playoffs on Saturday.

"This comprehensive, symptom-based approach to testing reflects our recent experience with the Omicron variant and conforms to current public health recommendations and best practices employed in healthcare, and offers the best opportunity for identifying and treating cases promptly and avoiding spread within the facility," the NFL wrote in the memo obtained by ESPN.

The league saw a spike in cases in December as the Omicron variant surged in the United States.

From December 12 to January 8, 756 players and 478 staff members tested positive.

The majority were asymptomatic, according to the league, and on December 18 the league said it would do away with weekly testing of vaccinated players.

It also reduced the time asymptomatic players and staff had to isolate before returning in the wake of a positive test, but reinstituted stricter masking and social distancing rules.