Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says that it will be possible for many sports to resume play this summer, so long as events are staged without fans and players adhere to a strict regime of staying isolated in hotels.
The spread of coronavirus and associated restrictions on travel and public gatherings has led to a near-global standstill of world sport which currently has no end in sight, but Dr. Fauci – the man central to the United States’ response to the virus – says that many sporting activities could resume this summer provided that correct health and safety provisions are in place.
“There’s a way of doing that,” Fauci said to Snapchat’s Peter Hamby as part of an online forum.
“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.”
Major League Baseball is one entity which has tentatively explored the idea of starting their season this summer after reports emerged the league bodies are considering a plan to hold games at various stadia in Arizona, with players being ferried to and from hotels to do so while essentially remaining in isolation.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey backed the plan this week and said that all 30 MLB teams would be welcome in his state should the go-ahead be given from the necessary authorities.
Fauci’s stance comes after a poll suggested that 72% of Americans would not attend sporting events before a coronavirus vaccine is rolled out. Estimates suggest that we may be a year or more away from that happening.
Just 13% of those polled said that they would feel comfortable attending games in the same manner as they did before the outbreak of the disease.
President Donald Trump has stated several times in recent days that he wants sporting events to resume as soon as possible and has held talks with various figures in the sports world to discuss this, including Roger Goodell of the NFL, Dana White of the UFC and Vince McMahon from WWE.
Both WWE and UFC have outlined a ‘business as (somewhat) usual’ plan for their upcoming events. WWE hosted their annual marquee event, WrestleMania, in their Performance Center in Florida in front of an empty house, while the UFC had hoped to hold their UFC 249 card this weekend before pushback from ESPN officials prompted Dana White to pull the card.
Nonetheless, White has announced plans to hold an event on May 9 somewhere in the United States and has also teased a supposed ‘Fight Island’ series of events.
Fauci, for his part, outlined his interest in seeing his World Series Champions the Washington Nationals taking to the field once again, even if it is just on television.
“I want to see them play again,” he said.