Dr. Anthony Fauci says football may not happen at all this year due to the possibility of the second wave of coronavirus. The new football season is supposed to start on September 10.
The Kansas City Chiefs versus the Houston Texans game and other football games may not take place in 2020.
“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall. If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, several Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans players were confirmed positive for Covid-19. The report revealed that none of the players were using the teams’ facilities, and both teams observed proper health protocols.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell explained the impact of the positive tests on the league’s plan in terms of kicking off training camps and the upcoming season.
“We expect we are going to have positive tests. That is part of the increased testing that we will be going through and that is something that we just want to make sure that our protocols are working and to date. We are seeing very positive reactions in the sense that we are making sure we respond quickly, protect the personnel that may be impacted by that and others that may be in contact with them,” Goodell told ESPN.
Meanwhile, in a memo in May, Goodell laid out the safety protocols as team facilities gradually reopen. These include allowing only a limited amount of employees and later moving on to players. The league further reopened earlier this month so coaches can go back to training facilities.
In May, the international games of NFL were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, moving them instead to the US. The league’s original plan was to hold four games in London and one game in Mexico City.
Risks of reopening
Dr. Fauci was among the experts who warned the public about premature reopening.
“If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to: ‘Open America Again,’ then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country. This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal,” wrote Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in a statement he released before he gave a testimony before the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in May.
He also said that there is no guarantee when it comes to any coronavirus vaccine.
“You can have everything you think that’s in place and you don’t induce the kind of immune response that turns out to be protective and durably protective,” Fauci said of a vaccine.
“So one of the big unknowns is, will it be effective? Given the way the body responds to viruses of this type, I’m cautiously optimistic that we will with one of the candidates get an efficacy signal.”
However, Dr. Fauci revealed that researchers are simultaneously conducting multiple stages of research to accelerate the development process of a coronavirus vaccine.
“The risk is not to the patient because the safety and the scientific integrity is intact,” he said. “The risk is to the investment and we feel that it’s important enough to make those investments in order to save months.”