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Covid-19 Transmission On The Field Unlikely – Allen Sills

On-field transmission of Covid-19 between players is not as likely as first feared, according to Dr. Allen Sills.

The NFL’s chief medical officer was speaking in the wake of increased restrictions following the league’s first outbreak.

The Tennessee Titans were the first team to be hit by Covid-19, leading to a tumultuous few weeks, schedule-wise.

The league acted by ordering high risk close contacts to isolate for five days after exposure to Covid-19. The move, as well as the threatened sanctions for not complying with protocol, seems to have got things under control. However, games will still be rescheduled on an ad-hoc basis for the rest of the season as a result. 


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“I think one positive takeaway that maybe folks haven’t focused on quite as much is we saw no evidence of transmission between the Titans and their opponent, the Vikings, even though we know there were some players who were infected on the field,” Sills said. 

“We’ve actually replicated that through a couple of other situations, so I think it’s a very positive takeaway, that it seems that on-field transmission is much less likely than what might have been thought at the outset, and that sort of confirms what’s being found in a lot of other sports leagues around the world.”

English soccer, like the NFL, began to experience outbreaks three weeks into the season. What Sills says is true – on-field transmissions have not occurred. Soccer players in England have mostly contracted the virus as a result of travelling. 


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The Las Vegas Raiders have their entire offensive line on the Reserve/Covid list. Their Week 7 game has been removed from the Sunday slot. 

“We learned that it only takes a very small opening for this virus to get in and spread around a team,” Sills said. 

“That can occur very easily away from the facility, you know, if players, coaching staff or others are getting together outside the facility, it certainly can find its way in.”

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