NFL players exempt from COVID-19 quarantine, but not you (Opinion)
If you're coming to New Jersey from a state on the list of those with spiking COVID-19 cases, you're mandated to quarantine yourself for 14 days. However, if you're on an NFL football team coming into New Jersey there's no need to worry. Gov. Phil Murphy has deemed your travel essential and thus exempt from the quarantine. It's a position I thought he was going to take.
Gov. Phil Murphy, appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio, spoke with host Bill Lekas about how New Jersey would deal with NFL players coming into New Jersey from states with increasing rates of COVID-19. Here's what he said, according to NBC Sports:
“We do have a carve-out for essential travel and a professional sports team would qualify for that carve-out. We’d probably, without having put this in stone, I’m sure we’d probably want to do one, and more than one, test for the virus when they got here. Or ask them to take it as they’re leaving wherever their host state is. That’s the minimum standard. Your question gets to a very fair point, we — along with New York and Connecticut — have asked folks if they’re coming from a hotspot state to self-quarantine for 14 days and get tested. A 14-day quarantine doesn’t work in an NFL schedule. So at least the testing piece would have to be there and I think if anyone is symptomatic or they’ve tested positive already, I’d hope they wouldn’t get on the plane.”
The NFL is still working on its plan for dealing with COVID-19 and teams are bracing for a rash of positive cases when training camp opens. In fact, not all of the players are even on board with returning and playing under these conditions.
One player, Tampa Bay Buccaneer tackle Donovan Smith, said in an ESPN article, "risking my health, as well as my family's health, does not seem like a risk worth taking." It will be his job to protect newly acquired quarterback Tom Brady should Smith come back this year.
So who's protecting you? If NFL players who play states with a high rate of coronavirus cases, travel all around the country and knowingly play a game that puts them at high risk for coronavirus can be exempt from quarantine, then why not the person or family that goes to a high-risk place, yet takes precautions to prevent the virus while they are there?
Are we just assuming that the virus is a pro football fan and won't infect players who come here? Should we also assume that those players, while they're here, won't spread it to any other Jersey people? This is just another example of why a 14-day quarantine is impractical and doesn't work.
If you're going to mandate a 14-day quarantine, you must do it for everybody, if not then we should just "feel free to move about the country."
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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