Metric analysis

NFL Uses New Metric Called Cycle Threshold To Determine Status Of COVID Positive Players

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – In the NFL, there are numbers almost everywhere, whether it’s on the jerseys, the scoreboard, or the markers. But, in the era of COVID-19, there is a magic number: the cycle threshold.

Cycle threshold, called CT, is a metric used in PCR testing for COVID. These tests, which tell us if a patient is positive or if the virus is not detected, involve series of tests or cycles of looking for the virus. The cycle threshold is a number that can indicate whether a person is still contagious. It’s like scoring the points in a football game. The higher the number, the better.

At the end of the season, the The NFL has pivoted on its policies. The league now considers a CT value of 35 or higher to be equal to a negative COVID test.

Therefore, vaccinated players who test positive for the virus may return to the squad if they produce CT values ​​of 35 or higher, as the league does not consider these players to be contagious.

We asked Dr. Catherine Troisi, infectious disease epidemiologist UTHealth School of Public Health, the reliability of these CT values.

“A lower cycle threshold, as you said, means more viruses,” Dr. Troisi noted. “But let’s say it’s 20 versus 40. What does that mean? Does that mean 20 isn’t contagious? We don’t really know. It’s not perfect, but the NFL wants to put the players back on the field. “

Since the number could tell us how contagious a person is, should the public be tested for CT values?

“Not all labs can declare cycle threshold,” said Dr Troisi. “It would also add more time to get the results, and if it takes you three days to get your results anyway, you don’t want to add any more.”

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