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NFL Cancels Half of Preseason, Supplemental Draft

According to Pro Football Talk, Week 1 and Week 4 of the preseason will be cancelled in a Thursday announcement. The supplemental draft has also been cancelled for 2020; my guess is that they didn't want a flood of players entering the supplemental draft if something goes wrong with the college football season.

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38 comments, Last at 06 Jul 2020, 2:40pm

4 They really oughta' be…

They really oughta' be planning for a first weekend in October kickoff, and then hope for the best. Even a November start would be viable. They need to get lucky with improved treatment protocols.

9 Treatment isn't the main…

Treatment isn't the main issue.  We've actually gotten pretty decent at treatment of the really sick cases.  Our hospital system has a >50% survival rate for COVID patients on a ventilator from March through May. (In Boston, an independent research team reported 63%).  And as more people start using dexamethasone, maybe that'll improve further. 

The problem was the sheer volume of cases and the fact that COVID survivors take a looong time to turn around and recover (both in the hospital and post-discharge physical/occupational therapy), which chews up healthcare resources and has further negative downstream effects.

The best treatment is prevention, but unfortunately that ship has sailed.  And even if a vaccine was formulated tomorrow, it would take months to properly test it for safety and effectiveness.  And at the risk of violating the prime directive, I'm certain a significant segment of the population would refuse to take it.  

The good news is that our hospital system in central/northern Maryland, after a mid-May peak, we haven't seen a new case requiring hospitalization in two weeks, and we haven't seen a new case requiring ICU level care in almost three weeks.  We'll see what happens as things have started to open back up.  Of course the South and West seem to be just ramping up to their peak.

As far as the football season, a lot can happen between now and September.  Maybe the pandemic will wreak it's havoc and burn out before then, or maybe it'll keep smoldering along.  Maybe the virus will mutate into something less virulent (with selective pressure favoring a virus that let's more of its hosts be out and about, and infect other people with similarly mild cases).  Nobody really knows, but I agree that the NFL would be smart to start making multiple contingency plans.

11 Do you  mind commenting on…

Do you  mind commenting on something?

I was led to believe that the biggest promulgation of the virus was through super spreading activities. But the soft reopenings have led to massive spikes in covid occurrence. Is the virus just that contagious that really any activity between humans will lead to infection? Even things like socially distanced wine tasting or outdoor eating?

12 I will preface this by…

I will preface this by saying that as a critical care specialist, I don't have specialized knowledge of virology and epidemiology.  But when I ask my colleagues who specialize infectious disease, they all keep harping on the fact that this virus is still poorly understood. 

But to answer your question, they say it seems to be more contagious than influenza and other respiratory viruses.  Whether that is due to the virus living longer on inert surfaces, being more prone to aerosolization (as opposed to droplet transmission) during normal human activity (speaking, singing, laughing....all of which happen a lot in super-spreader events, but can also still happen to a lesser degree in other settings), or some other intrinsic property....remains a source of debate.  Most of the studies that I've read in detail seem to point to the aerosolization issue (which is relevant to sports), but I can't say there's anything definitive.

14 Spreading Events

"Most of the studies that I've read in detail seem to point to the aerosolization issue (which is relevant to sports)" - this concords with everything I've read. It's not especially hopeful when looking at the prospects for crowds at sporting events.

With respect to the players it's pretty obvious to me the average NFL player takes much greater risks to their when taking the field than COVID-19 (given their epeidemiological profile). The issue is going to be coaches & support staff. I would be very surprised if we don't have games without fans as the equilibrium reached for opening day.

17 "I would be very surprised…

In reply to by sbond101

"I would be very surprised if we don't have games without fans as the equilibrium reached for opening day."

Agreed, given the size of football crowds, and the yelling/cheering involved, I feel like even limited capacity crowds would be a problem.  My understanding is that ticket revenue for each team is small potatoes compared to TV contracts, but it's still not trivial.  Would the owners be willing to part with that money in the interests of public safety (if they weren't forced to, that is).

18 In my laymanesque…

In my laymanesque terminology, anything which might cut down on hospitalizations and length of hospital stays is an improved treatment protocol, especially if it is something the infected person can self-administer. However,.it sounds as if they have about run through any likely options for a useful molecule with a long track record of use by humans.

23 Ah, I see what you're saying…

Ah, I see what you're saying.  This is tough, because the large majority of COVID cases recover without any intervention. 

All medications have side effects, but usually we have enough data know when the benefits outweigh the risks.  Not the case here.  If you give a treatment to everyone who tests positive for COVID, you may turn some of the spontaneous recoveries into serious complications. Given the numbers of cases we're dealing with, that number will be non-trivial (even if the complication rate is small).  It's the proverbial "cure may be worse than the disease", when looking at it on the population level.  This was the problem with hydroxychloroquine (other than the fact that it probably didn't work).

What we really need (and what I hope some researchers somewhere are working on), is predicting which patients are most likely to become seriously ill (Is it viral load? Is it individual variations in inflammatory/immune response? etc).

34 We've definitely gotten…

We've definitely gotten better at keeping people alive. There's still a large % of people suffering extremely serious long-term effects from having COVID. Even though they haven't died, they still have horrible long term damage that could be permanent (we don't know yet). That group seems to get lost in the numbers.

38 I think the Nick Cordero…

I think the Nick Cordero tragedy, as well as public reaction to it, tells us a lot on that topic.


He might the best example of a young, healthy person having severe problems for months, and would've continued to if he lived.


Unfortunately, to an even worse degree than I predicted, numerous commentors on Twitter said he died "with Covid instead of Covid" and considered it a "non-Covid death," even though all signs are that his complications were as clearly, directly traceable to Covid as you can get (and this is how literally every other cause of death is transcribed.) Sadly tells a lot about where we are mentally in how many of us view the virus.


The irony is that he looked like Alex Berenson...

10 Nice use of "purloiner."…

Nice use of "purloiner."

Unlike what Kristian Cavallari alleges, Jay certainly didn't look "lazy and unmotivated" tracking down this chicken serial killer.  Maybe he can parlay this into a new reality show.

20 I worry deeply about the…

Ol' Jay had more emotional commitment to catching the poultry purloiner than he did to proper throwing mechanics. 

I worry deeply about the makeup of a human being who has a deep emotional commitment to proper throwing mechanics.

7 Next step

All stadium lighting will be replaced by ultraviolet lights.    



13 The UV lighting that works…

In reply to by andrew

The UV lighting that works on Covid is the same UV light that would destroy all life on earth if the atmosphere didn't keep it out.  Works for cleaning surfaces before and after, but I don't think the NFL Players Association would be ok with it.

16 UV Light

Yeah - it will kill Corona virus, and give everyone in the building skin cancer and radiation burns.... seems like a good deal?

In all seriousness dose is the key. Any dose high enough to immediately kill the virus is to high to not be seriously harmful to people. The reason outside works is that outside people (can) stay far enough apart to create enough exposure time for the suns UV light to do it's work.

36 If there is no 2020 nfl season

what is the draft order for 2021?

are the Bengals #1 again?  Do we have a ton of coin flips?  Do a snake draft?  an auction draft?  (Ibwould so watch that).

or use Jimmy Johnson's chart (or the newer one) to create 32 equal stacks, then let teams choose their stacks in last year's order.