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Players must decide by Thursday whether to opt out of season

FILE PHOTO: The NFL logo is pictured at an event in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) - National Football League (NFL) players have until 4 p.m. ET on Thursday to decide whether they will opt out of the new season, a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to Reuters on Monday.

The NFL’s 2020 campaign kicks off on Sept. 10, with enhanced measures in place to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, but numerous players have already chosen to opt out citing safety concerns.

A handful of provisions will allow for players to opt out after the deadline in extreme circumstances, such as the death or illness of a close family member.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, the only active NFL player who is also a medical doctor, was the first to opt out on July 24, citing concern over the viral epidemic. More than 30 players have followed suit.

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tested positive for COVID-19, the team said on Sunday, while Detroit Lions put five players on their “reserve/COVID-19” list last week.

More than 155,000 people have died nationwide from COVID-19 since the virus was first identified in the United States in January. Cases nationally fell for a second week in a row but rose week-over-week in 20 states.

Deaths in the United States rose for a fourth week in a row to more than 8,500 people in the seven days ended Aug. 2, a Reuters analysis found.

Editing by Peter Rutherford

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