KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chiefs fans can breath a hesitant sigh of relief. A prominent local doctor is casting doubt on the likelihood of star quarterback Patrick Mahomes contracting COVID-19 from a recent potential exposure.
An image showing Mahomes in greeting Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who tested positive for the coronavirus shortly after the game, spread like wildfire on social media. Questions swirled around potential exposure.
Dr. Darrin D’Agostino, executive dean for the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, said that the circumstances surrounding the image make a positive Mahomes test unlikely.
“The CDC has criteria based on the science that says, if you’re less than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes, you’re at high potential risk for contracting the COVID virus. That’s not what happened here,” D’Agostino said.
He said that the interaction was brief, which minimizes exposure. He also noted that Gilmore played throughout the game and seemed healthy. That makes it likely that the athlete probably didn’t have a lot of the virus in him at the time.
“Likely, he did not have a high viral load, and the fact that he tested negative for four days straight after the original positive with Cam Newton, he probably wasn’t infectious at the time,” D’Agostino said.
The coronavirus incubation period is between two and 14 days, but the average incubation is between five and six days. That makes it likely that the virus was still incubating in Gilmore during the game.
Mahomes faced criticism after the interaction, and he admitted that he made a mistake. However, Dr. D’Agostino cut him some slack, saying that the athlete is “a generous and kind person.” He said the NFL’s protocols, if followed, should keep everyone safe, and Mahomes probably doesn’t need to worry too much.
“I’m not thinking this is going to be a problem, but daily testing should tell us,” D’Agostino said. “We’ll know over the next few days.”