In a memo sent to NFL teams on Friday, the NFL announced a new agreement with the NFLPA to no longer test for COVID-19 among any asymptomatic players, including unvaccinated players. Previously, unvaccinated players were subject to daily testing.
The move comes in the middle of the Omicron variant surge, which has shown an ability to bypass immunization and infect vaccinated and unvaccinated players, alike. This is another example of the NFL’s COVID-19 policy evolving as the pandemic changes.
Any symptomatic player will still need to complete testing.
The NFL reports nearly 95% of the league’s players are fully vaccinated, and with only a quarter of the league’s teams remaining on the field, the list of unvaccinated players is roughly a dozen names.
In the memo, the NFL wrote: “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.”
From December 12 to January 8, the majority of the 756 players and 478 staff members who tested positive were asymptomatic cases.