Dr. Anthony Fauci Says Pro Sports Can Return This Summer—Without Fans

Fauci suggests players could be tested for coronavirus weekly to “make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family.”

Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks to the media in the press briefing room at the White House on March 15, 2020 in Washington, DC. The United States has surpassed 3,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and the death toll climbed to at least 61, with 25 of the deaths associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.
Dr. Anthony Fauci at the White House, Vice President Mike Pence to Fauci’s right.

One big sign that COVID-19 was a deadly serious virus that could endanger the public was the complete shutdown of pro sports in order to protect fans gathered in arenas from infecting each other. Now, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says sports could return. But there’s a catch.

ESPN quoted a Snapchat interview with Dr. Fauci in which he outlined how resuming professional gameplay might work:

“There’s a way of doing that,” Fauci told Snapchat’s Peter Hamby as part of a weeklong interview series. “Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled. … Have them tested every single week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out.”

Fauci went on to say that he believed there would be enough interest from fans for them to tune in—even though many would prefer to actually be there. 

Major League Baseball has been fairly open about a plan the league has considered which would launch a truncated season in Arizona, reports ESPN. There would be no crowds, just teams facing off in otherwise empty venues.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey reportedly said the state could host the entire league if the conditions are right. 

In a way, Dr. Fauci was actually laying out a plan that would ensure caution on the part of fans. If the games were readily and easily available on TV, it would discourage people from breaking self-isolation and possibly exposing themselves to coronavirus infection. 

Fortunately, based on polls cited by ESPN, more than seventy percent of Americans take the coronavirus pandemic seriously enough that they said they would not attend games without a proven coronavirus vaccine. 

But even if states were to open up arenas and stadiums, it seems unlikely enough people would show up to justify the risk.