Story at a glance
- Anthony Fauci told CNN Thursday the NFL may have to delay its season due to COVID-19.
- His comments come as a number of states are continuing to see a rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
- The NFL regular season is slated to start in September.
As coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise in many parts of the country, the nation’s top infectious disease expert is warning that the NFL may not be able to hold games this year.
“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,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a key member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, told CNN.
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“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.”
The NFL has said it will start the regular season as scheduled on Sept. 10, when the Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans. While the offseason program has been conducted remotely, the plan to hold training camps in late July remains in place.
ESPN reports that the NFL Players Association told its members they could be tested roughly every three days for COVID-19 and isolated if they test positive.
The NFL in May set conditions for facilities to partially reopen as long as they complied with public health regulations and limited the number of people inside facilities.
On Monday, several Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans players tested positive for COVID-19, NFL Network reported. Among the group was Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott. It is believed the players did not contract the virus in team facilities.
The U.S. has recorded more than 2.1 million coronavirus cases and more than 117,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
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