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Washington team doctor: 21 of 23 COVID-positive players were healthy enough to practice

After Baker Mayfield took to Twitter to air out frustrations about the NFL updating COVID-19 protocols, Mike Florio and Myles Simmons examine the true root of the issue.

In a sign of how mild COVID-19 can be for fully vaccinated healthy young people, Washington’s team doctor says the overwhelming majority of Football Team players who tested positive this week are healthy enough to practice.

Washington Football Team doctor chief medical officer Anthony Casolaro told reporters today that 23 players tested positive for COVID-19, but only two of them had symptoms that would have led Casolaro to hold them out of practice. The other 21 were healthy enough that they would have been allowed to practice, if not for the NFL rules requiring all players who test positive to isolate.

Now the NFL rules are changing, and asymptomatic vaccinated players will not be tested at all. That means there will be far fewer players going on the COVID-19 reserve list -- not necessarily because there will be fewer COVID-positive players, but because some of those vaccinated players will get COVID-19 but feel totally fine, never get tested and never find out they ever had the virus.

There are indications that increasing numbers of COVID-positive players have the omicron variant, which researchers say appears to be more contagious but less severe. That means the virus could spread through a locker room easily, but without making many, if any, players sick. The league is shifting its protocols for that reality, and for the remainder of the regular season and postseason, some players with COVID-19 will practice and play without ever knowing they had COVID-19.