The Indianapolis Colts on Friday briefly joined the rising group of N.F.L. groups coping with a possible outbreak of coronavirus instances. Hours later, although, the crew introduced that the “4 people” who examined constructive for the virus had been re-tested and confirmed to be unfavorable.

After the Colts stated they have been closing their apply facility, the New England Patriots — who had simply emerged from a virus-inflicted week off — canceled their Friday apply session after recording one new constructive. A second New England participant initially examined constructive as nicely on Friday, however the follow-up screening yielded a unfavorable consequence.

The confusion in Indianapolis mirrored an identical collection of occasions final Friday involving the Jets, who closed after which rapidly reopened their coaching facility after an preliminary constructive consequence was not confirmed in a second take a look at. The uncertainty and disruption additionally solid new doubt on the reliance on fast testing to identify, and stop, virus outbreaks because the league plows forward with its schedule.

The rash of false positives echoed a number of different incidents which have made headlines in current months. In August, Gov. Mike DeWine of Ohio examined constructive on a fast take a look at, solely to substantiate thrice by a laboratory take a look at that he didn’t have the coronavirus. And on Oct. 2, officers in Nevada issued a statewide directive to nursing houses to halt use of two government-issued fast assessments that had produced a regarding variety of false positives that would not be confirmed by extra dependable assessments. Beneath stress from the federal authorities, the state reversed the order every week later.

Though fast assessments for the coronavirus are quicker, extra handy and cheaper than typical laboratory assessments, they’re far much less correct. They extra ceaselessly miss instances of the coronavirus, in addition to mistakenly label wholesome individuals as contaminated.

The information of the Patriots’ new case got here a day after two of the their most vital gamers, quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore, have been taken off the crew’s reserve/Covid-19 listing and returned to apply. Newton, who joined the Patriots this season, and Gilmore, the reigning N.F.L. defensive participant of the 12 months, are anticipated to play when the Patriots face the Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon. The crew stated the sport, which had been postponed every week after New England’s earlier virus outbreak, would go forward as deliberate.

In Indianapolis, the Colts referred to as off apply and despatched their staff dwelling after saying the crew had decided it was coping with “a number of” positives, solely to name everybody again hours later.

“The 4 constructive samples have been re-tested and have been confirmed unfavorable,” the crew stated in an replace posted on Twitter. After consulting the league, the Colts stated, they reopened their apply facility “and can proceed preparation for Sunday’s recreation.”

The Colts have been simply the most recent crew to announce constructive assessments previously few weeks, a bunch that has included the Tennessee Titans, the Patriots and, as of Thursday, the Atlanta Falcons. The outbreaks have scrambled the N.F.L. schedule, compelled the league to strengthen its virus protocols, and raised questions on its resolution to press forward with the sport schedule with out making a restricted setting just like the so-called bubble utilized by the N.B.A.

A number of N.F.L. recreation dates have already been modified, and every new postponement causes a cascading collection of modifications within the sophisticated matrix that’s the league’s schedule.

Any issues with Sunday’s Patriots-Broncos recreation in New England, although, may create probably the most critical scheduling issues but. When the league postponed the groups’ assembly final weekend, it solved the scheduling complication by permitting New England and Denver to make use of their authentic date as a bye week, and by shuffling a number of video games towards different opponents later within the season.

However since N.F.L. groups solely get one bye week per season, that has left the league with no flexibility whether it is compelled to postpone any extra video games involving both crew. By insisting on its conventional schedule format, at the same time as virus instances proceed to rise in dozens of states, the N.F.L. has little alternative however to attempt to play Sunday’s recreation — offered the Patriots don’t verify any extra instances — or to pursue including an 18th week to the calendar to permit for make-up video games.

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