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Explaining the NFL's COVID-19 protocols

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski along with two additional staff members and two players all tested positive for COVID-19.

CLEVELAND — It's easy to understand how Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski got caught up in Sunday's excitement after the win over Pittsburgh. But despite following mask protocols and being outdoors, the hugs may cause a COVID-19 penalty.

"It's still important to stay apart when you can," says Dr. Frank Esper from Cleveland Clinic.

Now whether transmission occurred is a waiting game, although Dr. Esper says don't be surprised if there is a list of players with high-risk esposures.

Also, the device that players and coaches have been wearing on their wrists will show who is most at risk. The high-tech devices have electronic surveillance to track who that person has been around.

Over the next few days there will be testing, testing, and more testing. But even a negative pcr test may put someone on the COVID list.

NFL protocol says only 62 players can travel to Pittsburgh. The Browns must submit their list by 4 p.m. Saturday. Despite the numbers of players and staff who have tested positive for coronavirus, the NFL's positivity rate is still less than one percent.

"That suggests that all of the contact tracing and all the precautions they (The NFL) are taking is having some value," Dr. Esper adds.

Just for perspective, according to the NFL Players Association, more than 41,000 tests were given to 6,700 players and staff during the week of Christmas. Last week, 21 players and 37 staff members tested positive and several of those included Browns personnel.  

The NFL teams that have made the playoffs are getting daily reminders of how fragile this situation is, especially when the Super Bowl is a month away.

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