NFL, NBA and NHL scramble to stem rise in covid-19 outbreaks
The NBA has followed the NFL in rolling out tighter covid protocols amid a sudden wave of positive cases while another postponed NHL game further clouded that league's plan.
The NBA has followed the NFL in rolling out tighter covid-19 protocols amid a sudden wave of positive cases while another postponed NHL game further clouded that league's plan to send the world's top players to the Beijing Olympics.
The National Basketball Association, in a memo obtained by Reuters on Friday, will increase testing from Dec. 26-Jan.8 and return to mask usage in many situations until agreed otherwise by the league and union representing its players.
As per the memo sent to teams on Thursday, players and staff will undergo daily testing with the exception of those who are on an off day, received a booster shot 14 days prior or recently recovered after a positive or inconclusive test result.
Players, regardless of vaccination or booster status, must also wear face masks while on the bench during games, traveling and in team facilities.
The enhanced measures come as the highly contagious Omicron variant threatens to intensify an already alarming surge of covid-19 cases in North America.
NHL's Olympic headache
The National Hockey League, which has also been dealing with a rise in covid-19 cases, said on Friday it postponed Saturday's game between the host Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
The Montreal-Boston game is the 11th NHL game postponed this season, which does little to quell concerns regarding the league's plan to send the world's top players to the Feb. 4-20 Beijing Olympics.
The NHL agreed to a break in its schedule to make way for players to compete in Beijing with the caveat that it could withdraw on its own if an abundance of COVID-19 disruptions forced games to be rescheduled during the Olympic window.
The Toronto Maple Leafs said on Friday that captain John Tavares, who represented Canada and won gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and a team mate entered the NHL's covid-19 protocol and that the team's practice has been cancelled.
The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, which in September stated that all U.S. athletes hoping to compete at the 2022 Winter Olympics would need to be vaccinated, said on Friday that Americans competing in Beijing will not be required to have covid-19 booster shots nL1N2T21PQ.
Earlier this week, the NFL also updated its protocols and said, effective immediately, it was requiring masks regardless of vaccination status, eliminating in-person meals and barring outside visitors while teams are traveling.