In an interview with CNN last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made harrowing comments regarding the prospect of football being played this fall amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
"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. 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," Dr. Fauci told CNN.
Dr. Fauci spoke with Sports Illustrated's Jets Country on Tuesday and clarified the comments that he made a week ago.
“The situation this fall will be dictated by the dynamics of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States,” Dr. Fauci said on Tuesday.
“Optimally you would want to see the level of infection dramatically decreased and good control of any evidence of resurgence. Again, the officials of the league in consultation with the players will make their own decisions. My statements about the NFL season have been misinterpreted and taken out of context,” Dr. Fauci said.
“I was asked by officials from the NFL about risks associated with various scenarios that the NFL might face in consideration of the upcoming season. I provided advice from a public health standpoint. The ultimate decision is not mine but that of the officials of the NFL and the players themselves.”
Without a vaccine, there will be some level of risk associated with large gatherings of people moving forward. Whether or not the virus can be controlled in congregate settings, such as a football field, will ultimately determine how successful a return to play will be this fall for both college and professional football.