NFL Panthers enter intensive virus protocol

New York (AFP) –

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The Carolina Panthers entered the NFL's intensive Covid-19 protocol on Wednesday after a player on last week's beaten rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, tested positive for the deadly virus.

The stringent precautions -- including daily testing, mandatory personal protective equipment and virtual team meetings -- were installed after Falcons rookie defensive tackle Marlon Davidson was placed on the reserve/Covid-19 list.

Davidson was involved in 12 of 64 defensive plays and five kicking team plays for the Falcons in last Sunday's 23-16 home loss to Carolina, which dropped Atlanta to 0-5 and led to the firing of the team's coach and general manager.

The Panthers, who have not placed a player on the Covid-19 list, are using the same measures the Minnesota Vikings took after an outbreak on the Tennessee Titans just after those teams played. The Vikings had no positive tests.

The Panthers, who are set to host Chicago (4-1) on Sunday, are 3-2 and tied with Tampa Bay and New Orleans for the lead in the NFC South division.