KANSAS CITY, Mo. — While there are plenty of reasons to worry about the safety of Chiefs and Patriots players after Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore tested positive for COVID- 19, the effects of a possible exposure won’t be known for days or even weeks.
Everyone who played in Monday night’s game tested negative before hitting the field, but medical experts have said time and time again that when someone tests negative for the virus, they are negative in that moment.
The news that Gilmore tested positive for COVID-19 just days after the Chiefs-Patriots match-up caused worry throughout Chiefs Kingdom. But panic set in when fans discovered Gilmore and Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes had an unmasked conversation and physical contact after the Chiefs win.
“Obviously we are all concerned about Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs,” KU Health System’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steve Stites said. “Brief contact, though, is not how the virus gets spread. And so I think that that’s less of a concern but ongoing contact is.”
The CDC defines the danger zone as close contact for 15 minutes, while the state of Kansas uses a 10-minute close contact rule.
Although Gilmore’s pre-game COVID test Monday was negative, doctors say people typically start shedding the virus 48 hours before symptoms occur.
“It just depends when he turned positive, right? We just don’t know,” Stites said. “That will be the real key, and hopefully the spread will be minimal, but that’s the problem. You really have to kind of let this play out.”
Chiefs Kingdom weighed in Wednesday about how the tam and the league should move forward.
“Until we’re through this COVID situation and we’ve got a good vaccine and everything goes back to normal, put them in a bubble and let them play,” Chiefs fan James Yarmo said.
That’s what the NBA is doing and it’s proven to be extremely effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Others in Chiefs Kingdom believe if players like Mahomes were exposed, they should quarantine just like everybody else.
“That’s not setting a really good example for everyone who is actually taking the virus seriously,” Gabby Souza said.
If exposed, it could take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear, but since NFL players are tested daily, we could know something sooner.