EletiofeTitans' COVID-19 outbreak: What you need to know

Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak: What you need to know

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coronavirus storm has arrived.” data-reactid=”16″ type=”text”>The NFL’s first coronavirus storm has arrived.

Tennessee Titans players and at least five staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Two team facilities have been evacuated. Sunday’s game between the Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers would appear to be in jeopardy. A week of uncertainty is ahead.” data-reactid=”17″ type=”text”>Three Tennessee Titans players and at least five staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. Two team facilities have been evacuated. Sunday’s game between the Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers would appear to be in jeopardy. A week of uncertainty is ahead.

Yahoo Sports consulted a variety of sources, including Emory University epidemiologist Zachary Binney, to break down a complicated situation. Here is what we know, what we don’t know, what we expect, and why the NFL responded as it did.

The NFL has its first in-season coronavirus outbreak. (Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images)

Bowen did not travel to Minnesota for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. The rest of the team did, and played as scheduled.” data-reactid=”35″ type=”text”>On Saturday morning, Titans outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen entered COVID-19 protocol. Bowen did not travel to Minnesota for Sunday’s game against the Vikings. The rest of the team did, and played as scheduled.

NFL announced that three Titans players and five Titans staffers (reportedly not including Bowen) had tested positive. The team shut down all activity at their facility. The Vikings, who played the Titans two days earlier, also shut down all in-person team activities.” data-reactid=”36″ type=”text”>On Tuesday morning, the NFL announced that three Titans players and five Titans staffers (reportedly not including Bowen) had tested positive. The team shut down all activity at their facility. The Vikings, who played the Titans two days earlier, also shut down all in-person team activities.

I’m told both #Titans and #Vikings franchises became aware of a Covid outbreak late Monday/early Tues and began contact tracing. It included contract tracing on #Titans return flight, which is suggestive that an infected person was in the team’s traveling party and on the plane.

— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) September 29, 2020

Titans placed defensive lineman DaQuan Jones, long snapper Beau Brinkley and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson on the COVID-19 reserve list, though they did not specify whether any of the three players had tested positive.” data-reactid=”39″ type=”text”>In what appears to be a corresponding move, the Titans placed defensive lineman DaQuan Jones, long snapper Beau Brinkley and practice squad tight end Tommy Hudson on the COVID-19 reserve list, though they did not specify whether any of the three players had tested positive.

What happens next?

The Titans and Vikings will continue to undergo regular testing. The individuals who tested positive will be isolated.

contact tracing investigations. Practices and in-person meetings will be suspended indefinitely in the meantime.” data-reactid=”42″ type=”text”>The teams will work with the league, the NFLPA and doctors to “evaluate close contacts.” They’ll proceed based on those contact tracing investigations. Practices and in-person meetings will be suspended indefinitely in the meantime.

Why do team facilities need to be shut down?

Because there is no way of knowing who else has already contracted the virus. Continuing business as usual would risk further spread within the Titans and/or Vikings.

Two characteristics of the virus complicate matters, and make shutdowns necessary:

COVID test (the actual nasal swabbing) and the test result. That lag, in the NFL’s case, is usually 12-24 hours. In those 12-24 hours, a person who has COVID doesn’t know they have COVID, but is capable of infecting others.” data-reactid=”46″ type=”text”>1. There is a lag time between the administration of a COVID test (the actual nasal swabbing) and the test result. That lag, in the NFL’s case, is usually 12-24 hours. In those 12-24 hours, a person who has COVID doesn’t know they have COVID, but is capable of infecting others.

2. People who have been infected don’t test positive until days after they’ve contracted the virus. The virus’ incubation period is usually 3-7 days. In layman’s terms, that means that an NFL player who contracted the virus on Sunday would almost certainly test negative on Monday, and would likely test negative on Tuesday. He would likely test positive for the first time on Wednesday at the earliest, and possibly not until Thursday, Friday or Saturday.

Have any Vikings tested positive?

No, not yet – at least not that we know of. As explained above, that’s expected. It doesn’t mean no Vikings player contracted COVID during Sunday’s game against the Titans. If any did, positive test results would likely begin appearing Wednesday at the earliest.” data-reactid=”49″ type=”text”>No, not yet – at least not that we know of. As explained above, that’s expected. It doesn’t mean no Vikings player contracted COVID during Sunday’s game against the Titans. If any did, positive test results would likely begin appearing Wednesday at the earliest.

Did the Titans play a game with players who had COVID?

Yes – but they didn’t know it at the time.

Now, let’s say that coach infected five players on Friday. All those players would have been tested Saturday. All of them would have returned negative tests Saturday night or Sunday morning (again, because the virus takes time to incubate). They would have played Sunday. They likely wouldn’t test positive until Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Will we likely see more Titans positives?

Yes. If other players and staffers contracted the virus at the same time the eight already-known individuals contracted it, they could test positive Tuesday or Wednesday.

All eight were reportedly part of the Titans’ traveling party. They shared a locker room, a sideline, a team bus, a team plane, meeting rooms and so on.” data-reactid=”64″ type=”text”>The other worry is that, between Saturday (when the last round of pregame testing occurred) and Tuesday (when the eight positive tests were confirmed), those eight people likely had contact with teammates and co-workers. All eight were reportedly part of the Titans’ traveling party. They shared a locker room, a sideline, a team bus, a team plane, meeting rooms and so on.

And if they did spread the virus to other teammates, because of the incubation period, those teammates might not test positive until later this week. That’s why the Titans won’t be able to practice for at least a few days, and it’s why their Week 4 game could be in jeopardy.

“I would expect to see more cases,” Binney says. “And I think trying to play on Sunday, just six days after, that’s a gamble.” It’s also a major competitive disadvantage to play after a week without practice.

What are the chances Titans players infected Vikings players?

We don’t know. This is an unprecedented situation. We don’t know how risky a football game is from a virus transmission standpoint. We don’t yet know who the three positive players are – or, more important, what position they play.

NFL has accidentally run,” Binney says. “We’re gonna see. But it also matters who these players are. … If they are scrub linebackers who only were in there for two or three plays, that’s less of an issue than if it was the starting center. Because it’s about the amount of contact and the duration of contact.”” data-reactid=”69″ type=”text”>“This is an experiment that the NFL has accidentally run,” Binney says. “We’re gonna see. But it also matters who these players are. … If they are scrub linebackers who only were in there for two or three plays, that’s less of an issue than if it was the starting center. Because it’s about the amount of contact and the duration of contact.”

“Keep in mind, these could have been people who became infectious anytime in the last couple of days,” Binney says. “Because that Monday test was actually really covering from Saturday morning to Monday morning. It’s capturing a 48-hour period.

“Here’s what you can safely say: If you assume they got tested on Saturday morning and Monday morning, you can say, nobody was probably infectious Saturday morning. And you can say that eight people were probably infectious Monday morning.”

Could a player be infectious before testing positive?

When will we know whether Titans players infected Vikings players?

How could the NFL reschedule games?

report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL intends to play the Titans-Steelers game as scheduled on Sunday, or possibly Monday to allow for additional testing. That, of course, could change if more positive tests arise over the coming days.” data-reactid=”78″ type=”text”>Per a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL intends to play the Titans-Steelers game as scheduled on Sunday, or possibly Monday to allow for additional testing. That, of course, could change if more positive tests arise over the coming days.

If games need to be postponed, the NFL has a few options. It could always create a “Week 18” for all COVID-affected games; push back the start of the playoffs by a week; and eliminate the extra week in between conference championships and Super Bowl.

Or, it could get creative. For example: The Titans have a Week 7 bye. The Steelers have a Week 8 bye. The Steelers play the Baltimore Ravens in Week 7. The Ravens also have a Week 8 bye.

So, the NFL could do some shuffling. The Week 7 Steelers-Ravens game could be moved to Week 8. The Week 4 Titans-Steelers game could be moved to Week 7. The Ravens would get their bye in Week 7. The Titans and Steelers would both get their byes this week.

We don’t know much about Bowen’s situation beyond him entering COVID-19 protocol.

We also don’t know how the virus spread. There are two main possibilities. Either A) Bowen has it and infected his colleagues, or B) the eight other people who tested positive on Monday all contracted the virus from somebody outside the facility.

“It depends on the degree of contact [Bowen] had with these people,” Binney says. “If these were primarily close contacts of the coach … if the three players are linebackers, then I think you can go ahead and make that assumption [that they contracted the virus from Bowen]. If the three players are a quarterback, a running back and a wide receiver, then I start to wonder.”

What lesson can the NFL learn from this?

That mask-wearing and physical distancing are crucial, even in the absence of known positive tests. Because you don’t know about positive tests until after the fact. And you can’t retroactively change behavior from 24 hours earlier once you do know. The Titans situation will serve as a reminder.” data-reactid=”87″ type=”text”>That mask-wearing and physical distancing are crucial, even in the absence of known positive tests. Because you don’t know about positive tests until after the fact. And you can’t retroactively change behavior from 24 hours earlier once you do know. The Titans situation will serve as a reminder.

Can’t underscore the fluidity of the #Vikings situation enough. This is why #NFL personnel continue to wear masks and have protective measures on game day. So that if one team brings a Covid positive person into your space, you can still manage to protect your bubble. https://t.co/mQbTzkuVOy

— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) September 29, 2020

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote Tuesday in a memo to teams. “This includes not only our testing program, but facility maintenance, wearing of PPE by players and staff, and carefully regulating behavior and contacts outside of the club facility.”” data-reactid=”90″ type=”text”>“These results confirm the need to remain diligent in implementing all of our health and safety protocols to the fullest extent,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote Tuesday in a memo to teams. “This includes not only our testing program, but facility maintenance, wearing of PPE by players and staff, and carefully regulating behavior and contacts outside of the club facility.”

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s leading doctor, was clear on the league’s strong mask rule, saying this month on the NFL Network:

“As we’ve said all along, the tests are not what keep us safe. The tests are simply a report card or a measuring stick to show how we’re doing with all our other risk mitigation efforts. And we know that one of the biggest exposure times is if someone is yelling or speaking really loudly, that’s when you can really project a lot of aerosolized droplets into the air. So, again, tests are not perfect. And even though everyone tests negative, that doesn’t mean someone couldn’t possibly be infected. So we want to make sure we do all we can to mitigate that risk.”

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