Dr. Fauci says only way sports can return this summer is with no fans

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington. (Alex Brandon/AP)

One of the biggest questions on the minds of sports fans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is when we might see the return of professional sports — and if this summer is a possibility.

In an interview with journalist Peter Hamby on Snapchat’s Good Luck America this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious disease expert, was asked specifically about the possibility of seeing an abbreviated 2020 MLB season, as well as whether the college football and NFL seasons will be in jeopardy.

Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who is steering the nation’s COVID-19 response, said the only way professional sports can be played this summer is if stadiums are empty and athletes are quarantined in hotels.

“There’s a way of doing that: Nobody comes to the stadium,” Fauci said. “Put (the players) in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them very well surveilled. … Have them tested every week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out.”

Fauci acknowledged that he, too, is a sports fan and will be rooting for the return of the Washington Nationals.

“I want to see them play again,” he said.

Major League Baseball was forced to cancel the remainder of spring training earlier this spring and postpone the start of its season, while the NBA and NHL haven’t held games since March 11. The NFL has so far kept its off-season as scheduled, moving all free agency and draft-related events online.

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