nfl covid-19
(Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

The league has made some changes to its COVID-19 protocols through Week 15.

COVID-19 has ravaged the NFL more than ever this past week. The 36 COVID list placements (whether it be the Reserve/COVID-19 list or the Practice Squad/COVID-19 list) on Monday, the 29 on Tuesday, and the 31 on Wednesday were the three largest in-season totals since the beginning of the 2020 campaign, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

To combat this major issue, the league updated its ever-crucial COVID-19 protocols for Week 15.

“Throughout the pandemic we have continuously evolved our protocols to meet our goal of advancing the safety of the players, coaches and staff,” the league revealed in a press release. “The changes we are making today aim to address the increase in cases and the advent of the Omicron variant. Effective immediately, all clubs will implement preventative measures that have proven effective: masking regardless of vaccination status, remote or outdoor meetings, eliminating in-person meals, and no outside visitors while on team travel. We will continue to strongly encourage booster shots as the most effective protection. Finally, and based on expert advice, we will adjust the return-to-participation requirements for those who have recovered from COVID-19. All of these changes are grounded in our data and science-backed approach, with safety our number-one goal for the entire NFL community.”

To be clear, these rules are in effect through Week 15, which concludes with Monday night’s matchup between the Bears and Vikings. The league and its players association should also be discussing any additional rule changes.

Players must also refrain from gathering in groups of at least four individuals and attending clubs or bars, per Pelissero.

The local teams have included themselves in the list of various ballclubs affected by the lingering virus this week. The Giants now have had six different players test positive this week while safety Xavier McKinney is a close contact. The positive tests were from wide receivers Kadarius Toney and John Ross, cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Aaron Robinson, special teamer Cam Brown, and edge rusher Oshane Ximines.

As for the Jets, special teamer Justin Hardee, rookie wide receiver Elijah Moore, and rookie linebacker Hamsah Nasirildeen have all tested positive.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.