Imagine two Super Bowl contenders: one team has all COVID-19 virgins on its roster; the other team has nothing but infected players. Which team would you bet on to win the Super Bowl? If you bet on the first team, may I suggest that you are an imbecile? Obviously, the second team has players with antibodies, while the first team’s players are sitting ducks, several of which will likely test positive during the season and have to quarantine for two weeks, at best.
So, antibodies are a hot commodity for the 2020 NFL season. And while it may one day be possible to suck antibodies out of a recovered person, and inject them into an uninfected person to convey immunity, that has yet to be accomplished. So, the only reliable way to get antibodies is to get them the old-fashioned way: by surviving an infection. So, fans should be rooting for their team to get mild infections now, in order to prevent infections during the season.
But, will NFL coaches leave this to chance? Might there be a coach out there who will deliberately infect his players? Let’s see…which coach can be relied upon to cheat at every turn? Hmm. I won’t mention any names, but I will give you a hint: the guy I have in mind is currently missing a third-round draft pick. Let’s keep an eye on him, shall we?
The NFL is striving to keep all things equal between teams when it comes to practicing. But is there anything they can do to make sure that all teams suffer the same from the coronavirus? I don’t think so. The only possible method would be to infect all players now, and that is simply not ethical.
If a coach did deliberately infect his players, he could be brought up on attempted-murder charges. But what if all the players secretly signed consent forms? Or decided amongst themselves to self-infect? If they wanted to recover before the season started, they would have to do it now. And then they would have to explain away the sudden “outbreak” on the team: “Gosh, somebody didn’t wash his hands, and now we’re a hot-spot. I hope we can all recover in time.”
While there is an opportunity to cheat here, the most-likely scenario will be that the coronavirus is simply treated like any other injury. You get it, you miss a few games, and then you come back.
And there are more virus-strategy issues. What if your team doctor, or local medical systems, refuse to treat players with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) for political reasons? Or if they do give HCQ, do they first screen the patient for Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD)? That might be a big factor considering how many African-American players there are in the NFL.
This all begs the question? Should the NFL regulate the treatment of COVID-19 infected players?
In case you think I’m crazy for considering these things, imagine the long-suffering Cleveland Browns making it to the AFC Championship game in January, and then Baker Mayfield tests positive, ending his season. Would this not induce a mass-suicide in the Dawg Pound? If Baker could foresee this future, would he self-infect? I don’t know, but I bet he would think about it considering how rabidly competitive he is. And Baker isn’t the only rabidly competitive player in the NFL. This isn’t the NBA after all.
With luck, this may all be moot by opening day. The CDC just reported:
“Mortality attributed to COVID-19 decreased compared to last week and is currently at the epidemic threshold but will likely increase as additional death certificates are processed.”
In other words, COVID-19 is a stone’s throw away from losing its status as an epidemic.
Note: the CDC link above is for the week ending June 27, 2020. It may change by time you read this.