Players secured a huge victory in July when the NFL agreed to daily COVID-19 testing to begin training camp. With the 2020 season fast-approaching, the NFL Players Association has now secured even more COVID-19 testing for players.
Under the previous agreement between the league and players’ union, teams would test players each day for the coronavirus for the first two weeks of training camp. Now, the NFL will extend its testing protocols even further.
The NFLPA announced Wednesday that amid the ongoing pandemic, the NFL will conduct daily COVID-19 tests of all players through Sept. 5. The daily testing will end just five days before the NFL Kickoff Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans.
We have reached an agreement with the @NFL to continue daily testing through September 5th. We will continue to monitor positivity rates within each club and relevant information from each team community to inform our assessment of testing frequency ahead of the regular season.— NFLPA (@NFLPA) August 12, 2020
It’s a smart move for both sides, with many players still concerned about the risks of playing during this health crisis. The timing is also important with teams ramping up activities in training camp and fully padded practices set to begin next week.
By creating strict safety protocols and with players being responsible, the NFL’s approach to COVID-19 is clearly working. In the first league-wide test results from training camp, only about 2% of players tested positive for the coronavirus.
The NFL was already expected to use an incredible amount of COVID-19 tests this season due to roster sizes and the number of team personnel. The price tag for all the tests and the league’s partnership with BioReference Laboratories was expected to cost $75 million.
With the league now extending its window for daily testing, the cost will be even higher, and it will deliver a slight hit to league revenue. Given the increasing chances a full 2020 season is played, though, that’s a cost NFL teams are more than willing to pay.