Implementation and Evolution of Mitigation Measures, Testing, and Contact Tracing in the National Football League, August 9-November 21, 2020.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

The National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) began the 2020 football season in July, implementing extensive mitigation and surveillance measures in facilities and during travel and gameplay. Mitigation protocols* were evaluated and modified based on data from routine reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19); proximity tracking devices; and detailed interviews. Midseason, transmission was observed in persons who had cumulative interactions of <15 minutes' duration, leading to a revised definition of high-risk contacts that required consideration of mask use, setting and room ventilation in addition to proximity and duration of interaction. The NFL also developed an intensive protocol that imposed stricter infection prevention precautions when a case was identified at an NFL club. The intensive protocol effectively prevented the occurrence of high-risk interactions, with no high-risk contacts identified for 71% of traced cases at clubs under the intensive protocol. The incorporation of the nature and location of the interaction, including mask use, indoor versus outdoor setting, and ventilation, in addition to proximity and duration, likely improved identification of exposed persons at higher risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Quarantine of these persons, along with testing and intensive protocols, can reduce spread of infection.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mack, CD; Wasserman, EB; Perrine, CG; MacNeil, A; Anderson, DJ; Myers, E; Smith, S; McDonald, LC; Osterholm, M; Solomon, GS; Mayer, T; Sills, A; NFL COVID-19 Advisory and Operational Team,

Published Date

  • January 29, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 70 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 130 - 135

PubMed ID

  • 33507889

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7842808

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1545-861X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.15585/mmwr.mm7004e2


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States