The coronavirus needs to chill.
It’s killed the entertainment industry, irreparably harmed our global economy and has even infiltrated one of our greatest escapes: the wonderful world of sports. The NBA was forced to put its entire season on pause in March and we’ve seen a myriad of similar cancellations and postponements throughout various other sports since. Through three weeks of football, however, the NFL remained unscathed—until now.
The Tennessee Titans have closed their facilities until Saturday after three players and five team personnel members tested positive for the coronavirus, the NFL announced Tuesday.
The eight new positive tests have been confirmed after additional testing, a source told ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. Those who tested positive have been asymptomatic as of Tuesday morning, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
In response to the positive tests, the Titans shut down all in-person work on Tuesday, and the Minnesota Vikings, who lost to Tennessee on Sunday, have opted to follow suit and do the same despite having no positive tests since coming in contact with the Titans.
“Out of the abundance of caution, the organization has decided to work remotely today as we follow NFL protocols related to the COVID-19 virus,” the Titans said in a statement.
Contingency plans for rescheduling upcoming games have been discussed, but the NFL has yet to pull the trigger on postponing any upcoming games. In a statement, the league confirmed that both teams are working with the NFL Players Association and medical officials “to evaluate close contacts, perform additional testing and monitor developments [...] with health and safety as our primary consideration.”
Earlier this week, an investigation was launched after the Las Vegas Raiders broke COVID-19 protocols by reportedly allowing an unauthorized team employee to enter the locker room. But since the season started, this rash of positive tests among the Vikings is the first instance of the coronavirus threatening to derail the NFL schedule.
With advancements in testing, it seems the situation is under control. But in a year that’s been full of surprises, expect the coronavirus to rear its head again sooner than later.