Canceling seasons will not be easy but could very well be necessary, Dr. Anthony Fauci told the New York Times on Wednesday.
The country’s top infectious diseases expert, Fauci said there are leagues that might have to “bite the bullet” and cancel their 2020 seasons.
“Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything,” Fauci told The Times. “If you can’t guarantee safety, then unfortunately you’re going to have to bite the bullet and say, ‘We may have to go without this sport for this season.’”
Among requirements Fauci said would be necessary for leagues to re-open are quick and accurate testing for all essential players and staff.
In April, Fauci took the position that sports could be back this summer as long as fans weren’t gathering and leagues took precautions to minimize the amount of exposure players and officials had. Fauci said Wednesday that even when sports return, players will not be able to be active members of society and some type of quarantine will be required.
“I would love to be able to have all sports back,” he said. “But as a health official and a physician and a scientist, I have to say, right now, when you look at the country, we’re just not ready for that yet.”
The NBA plans to open practice facilities for individual workouts on May 8 — one week from Friday — with heavy restrictions regarding social distancing and hygiene.
Major League Baseball was scheduled to open March 26. Opening Day could be moved to mid-June or July, according to reports Tuesday.
PGA and NASCAR events are planned in May without fans in attendance.
The NHL still is evaluating its options per resuming its season.