Infectious Disease

NFL COVID-19 protocols have “broad and achievable results” on the general public

January 30, 2021

2 min read

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Disclosure:
Mack reports that IQVIA is on a paid research assignment with the NFL. In the study you will find all relevant financial information from all other authors.

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Intensive COVID-19 protocols have helped reduce exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the National Football League, according to a recently released MMWR report.

Christina DD Mack, PhD, MSPH, Healio, vice president of epidemiology and clinical evidence for data science company IQVIA and an epidemiologist for the NFL, told Healio that the mitigation efforts made by the NFL have “far-reaching and achievable effects” on the general public.

Christina Mack quote

“An intensive protocol can be designed to suit a particular environment and tighten mitigation measures when the case is positive or the risk is increased.” Said Mack. “Examples of this are closing break rooms, reducing room capacity, and holding more virtual meetings. Adhering to a temporarily stricter protocol is also an effective reminder of due diligence and compliance with safety regulations and, overall, an essential tool for workplaces and schools. “

Mack and colleagues investigated the effectiveness of changes to the COVID-19 protocol in all areas after 41 cases were identified among players and staff between September 27 and October 10. The clubs implemented an intensive protocol for 1 week when a positive test result was confirmed. The log was activated when a club had players or employees with access to the facility who had contracted COVID-19, or when a team played against an opposing player who had a positive COVID-19 test the next day. Other parts of the new protocol included increasing the frequency of testing from 6 to 7 days a week, improving contact tracking, and assessing the risk of transmission by identifying high-risk contacts.

A total of 29 of the 32 clubs spent a total of 431 days under the new protocol between October 1 and November 21. During the new protocol period, the mean number of interactions within the facility was 15 or more consecutive minutes with less than 6, the distance between feet per club per day decreased by 60% (60 to 24 interactions) and the interactions decreased by two consecutive minutes or less by 28% (1,691 to 1,222).

Mack said it is important to protect communities by naming contacts based on their level of risk. She also said that in order to properly characterize the contacts, researchers should look not only at “how long the contact lasted” but also at “masking, ventilation, airflow, duration and distance.”

“Tests alone are not enough to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Strict protocols such as contact tracing and quarantine are required, ”said Mack. “What is important for an effective protocol is the mandatory use of masks, limiting the number of people who can gather together, and avoiding high-risk situations such as eating together or driving in private vehicles. “

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