What Rapidly Rising COVID-19 Infections Among NFL Players May Mean for the Rest of Us

Since December 13, the NFL reports that 476 of the 1,696 players on its active rosters—a bit more than 28 percent—have tested positive for COVID-19. Compare that to the 428 COVID reserves who were on the COVID list the entire of the last season.

This is despite 94.6 per cent of NFL player’s (average age: 26) being fully vaccinated and close to 100 per cent of staffers. Dec. 13th, the NFL ordered that team staffers, coaches, and front-office staff receive booster shots for COVID-19. This was to be done by December 27. NFL Players Association is still working to get boosters for players.

According to the NFL, “With such an innocuous population, the NFL environment cannot be compared with anywhere else in society.” It is true. This is true.

Also, the NFL has players who are often in constant close contact on practice fields and in locker rooms. However, it seems that the Omicron Variant will quickly spread to healthy young adults who have been fully vaccinated. Although it reflects the Christmas holiday testing backlog, on Monday the tally of diagnosed COVID-19 daily cases rose to about 540,000, which is more than 200,000 above the previous daily high reached last January.

The good news is that most NFL players with COVID-19 symptoms are mildly symptomatic. Because of possible conflicts of interests, Allen Sills was the NFL’s Chief Medical Officer. He stated that there had been no evidence of any verifiable transmission by the virus to any of its asymptomatic members.

There is good news second for booster-vaccinated people. Initial results show that the Moderna and BioNTech vaccines were effective for preventing the symptoms of the omicron variant. But, after three months the effectiveness drops to 40%.

Third, two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines remain 30–40 percent effective against omicron variant infection and around 70 percent effective against hospitalization. New York once more is the epicenter for the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s look at recent data regarding vaccine effectiveness and hospitalizations between New Yorkers who have been vaccinated. Unvaccinated persons were twelve times more likely than vaccinated to become infected with COVID-19 during the week that ended on December 19, 2021. Hospitalization prevention was 95 percent of the time.

Researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington School of Medicine, have predicted that although 140 million Americans could be eventually infected with the Omicron variant of the disease, over 90 percent of those affected may not show any symptoms.

″[Omicron]”It’s going to rip through the population,” David Ho, Columbia University virologist said in an interview with CNBC last week. “Those who have had their vaccinations and were boosted should be fine, even though they may become infected. It is likely that those who have not been vaccinated will fare slightly worse. However, I fear the worst for people who have not been vaccinated.