The 2020 NFL season is still scheduled to be played in home markets across the country, but one of the nation's foremost experts on the coronavirus isn't so sure.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, arguably the most visible figure in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, spoke with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta about what the fall sports schedule may look like, and it's not good:
“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,” Fauci said. “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.”
So, with all the talk about baseball this summer, it made me wonder about football this fall. How might that work, given that physical distancing and football seem incompatible? Dr Anthony Fauci and I are both big sports fans, and we were discussing this yesterday. (1/4)— Dr. Sanjay Gupta (@drsanjaygupta) June 18, 2020
He said, “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…. (2/4)— Dr. Sanjay Gupta (@drsanjaygupta) June 18, 2020
I hope that’s not the case, but if football does come back this fall, it will likely look very different. For example: possible modified face masks embedded in players helmets, single-use hydration containers and physical distancing + masks on the sidelines. (4/4)— Dr. Sanjay Gupta (@drsanjaygupta) June 18, 2020
Fauci's quotes are just the latest reminder that we're still very much in the middle of a historically devastating pandemic, fighting a virus without a vaccine. With most epidemiologists in agreement about the certainty of a second wave this fall, it's feasible that the NFL might not be able to play in every home market. Teams like the Texans and Cowboys have already seen players infected, and with rising infection rates in several other states, they won't be the only ones.