The NFL Players Association on Wednesday renewed its push for daily COVID-19 testing amid an unprecedented surge of infections this week among its members.
In a statement released Wednesday, the NFLPA reiterated that it has been negotiating for more tests since training camp.
“The NFL decided to take away a critical weapon in our fight against the transmission of COVID-19 despite our union’s call for daily testing months ago,” the union said. “We’re talking to our player leadership and to the NFL about potential changes to the protocols so that we can complete the season.”
A total of 75 players returned positive tests Monday and Tuesday, and the rush continued Wednesday around the league.
NFL owners and executives are gathered outside of Dallas for a previously scheduled meeting and are discussing ways to combat the surge.
At this pace, the league will have more positive player tests this week than it had for the first three months of the regular season (110).
All players, coaches and staff were tested daily during the 2020 season. In 2021, the NFL pulled back that schedule for all vaccinated individuals.
Unvaccinated players are still required to test daily. Vaccinated players started training camp with tests every 14 days, but the NFL increased that to once per week shortly before the start of the regular season.
In September, NFLPA president J.C. Tretter wrote that daily testing was necessary to minimize the chances of spread within team facilities. On multiple occasions this season, however, NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills has said that clusters of positive cases among teams were caused by community infection and not from player to player. Sills attributed that theory to the league’s genomic sequencing program, which can separate strains of the virus to trace the source.
With cases rising around the league, all possibilities are under consideration this week.