Dr. Fauci keeps trying to warn us, but nobody wants to listen.
Last month, the world-renowned immunologist suggested that COVID-19 could force sports leagues to skip their seasons entirely. And in an interview with Peter King of NBC Sports, he painted a grim picture of what’s in store should the NFL proceed with their plans to play football—even without fans in the stadium.
“This is a respiratory virus, so it’s going to be spread by shedding virus,” Fauci said. “The problem with virus shedding is that if I have it in my nasal pharynx, and it sheds and I wipe my hand against my nose—now it’s on my hand. You see, then I touch my chest or my thigh, then it’s on my chest or my thigh for at least a few hours. Sweat as such won’t transmit it.”
He continued, “But if people are in such close contact as football players are on every single play, then that’s the perfect set up for spreading. I would think that if there is an infected football player on the field—a middle linebacker, a tackle, whoever it is it—as soon as they hit the next guy, the chances are that they will be shedding virus all over that person.”
Fauci also noted that by being in such close proximity, a negative test doesn’t guarantee the safety of anyone.
“If I test today, and I’m negative, you don’t know if I got exposed tomorrow,” he said. “There’s no guarantee that you’re going to get exposed and be positive the next day. To give you an example, you’re probably reading in the newspapers that there’s an infection in the White House. I was exposed to that person. So I immediately got tested. I am negative. So, I’m negative yesterday. I don’t know if I’m going to be negative Monday. Understand?”
He added, “It’s almost an impossible situation. To be 100 percent sure, you’ve got to test every day. But that’s not practical and that’s never going to happen. But you can diminish dramatically by testing everybody Saturday night, Sunday morning, and say OK, only negative players play.”
Again, we’re talking about the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who just so happens to also be an integral member of the White House’s coronavirus task force. The guy knows what the hell he’s talking about. And if he’s this averse to professional athletes resuming their careers any time soon—despite MLB owners recently approving a proposal to begin their season in July—it’s just not worth it.
I’m gonna miss the hell out of sports, but until a vaccine is available, resuming play shouldn’t even be a consideration. How many more warnings can we continue to ignore?