The NFL wants to honor health care workers by inviting some -- who've had their Covid-19 vaccines -- to Super Bowl LV.
Frontline health care workers are 'true American heroes,' NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on a Wednesday call with reporters, adding he hopes to invite vaccinated employees of Florida hospitals to the big game, both to honor them and to promote vaccinations, which began rolling out in the US this week.
'As we all know, these frontline workers are the true American heroes, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude,' Goodell said. 'We also know that we need to rely on them for months to come to distribute vaccines and continue to treat all of those that are ill from Covid and other illnesses.'
The idea still needs health care authorities' approval.
Wednesday's meeting with team owners mainly focused on coronavirus. Goodell praised the league for its Covid-19 protocols and highlighted that positive coronavirus test results within the NFL declined by roughly half in consecutive weeks.
It's proof the protocols implemented by the league are working, he said.
Largely praised for its stringent pandemic protocols, the NFL is about midway through its quest to become the nation's first major sport to play a full and mostly uninterrupted season during the health crisis. Some 187 players and 328 personnel tested positive for Covid-19 from August 1 through December 12.
Family members of NFL players and staff will now be offered Covid-19 testing, Goodell said Wednesday.
'We shared last night with the clubs that we are making testing available for family members and other people in the household,' Goodell said. 'We know that community transmission is a risk, and it's increasing the testing to the household personnel will keep all personnel safer, not just in the homes but really transferring that to NFL personnel.'
As the regular season nears the finish the line and teams eye the playoffs, the league is not planning to institute a playoff 'bubble,' it said in a Tuesday memo to all teams. The NBA held its latest season in a 'bubble' that closely monitored isolation requirements.
Super Bowl LV is set to for February 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Florida has been one of the hardest hit states for Covid-19. It has the third most cases and deaths in the US, with at least 1.15 million positive cases and 20,204 deaths through Thursday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Florida is also one of nine states showing upward trends in case tallies, and it has had a daily positivity rate over 5% over the last seven days.