The latest coronavirus problem in sports isn’t that far from the problem that a lot of Americans have: How can you tell if that’s a cold, or Covid? Is that sniffle allergies, or a sign of a deadly pathogen? Is that headache just a headache, or…?
One of the things that makes coronavirus a wily foe for epidemiologists is that it has a really long list of possible symptoms—including none at all.
The catalog offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on reports from people who have had Covid-19, includes fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle aches, body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion, runny nose, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting.
That’s particularly vexing if you’re an athlete or sports league determined to try to play through a pandemic. The National Football League, which has experienced a significant increase in cases in recent weeks as cases rise across the country, knows this all too well. After bursts of positive cases earlier in the season, the league overhauled its pandemic protocols to remove anyone who’s showing possible symptoms of Covid-19—even if they’re testing negative.
“It’s a challenging medical situation,” said Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer. “We always assume something is Covid until proven otherwise.”
Your nose is runny, you're tired, your head hurts.
It's a problem facing both NFL teams and everyday Americans deciding if they should go to work or send a child to school. Is it a cold? Flu? Allergies? Or Covid? With @louiseradnofsky: https://t.co/CSGc8TCpIc
— Andrew Beaton (@andrewlbeaton) November 20, 2020