Even though Major League Baseball is prepared to play a 60-game season with no fans in attendance this summer, America’s top infectious disease expert reportedly isn’t ruling out the possibility of stadiums opening up in limited capacity before the end of the year.
“Sometimes when you project, people take it out of context,’’ Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in an interview with MASN. “But if a level of infection in a city is really low, then you can have people in the stands. You can’t fill it up 100 percent. You can do it where you can space out the fans. It’s at least open for consideration.”
A noted Nationals fan, Dr. Fauci has been supportive of professional sports returning amid the coronavirus pandemic—given that safety protocols are followed. MLB and its players union created a 108-page manual for health guidelines designed to curtail the spread of the virus, though a growing number of players, umpires and staff members have chosen to opt out of participating in this season rather than risk exposing themselves to infection.
However, Dr. Fauci doesn’t think the players need to worry about social distancing while on the field.
“If [MLB does] it the way they say they are going to do it, every player out there should have tested negative,’’ Fauci said. “If you are testing before they go on the field, you can assume everybody’s negative. It doesn’t make any difference if a guy is holding someone on first base.”
The 2020 season is set to begin July 23, when the Nationals play host to the New York Yankees on Opening Night.
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