If you’re looking for a source of hope that we’ll be able to enjoy sports again this year, Dr. Anthony Fauci may have just provided one. The nation’s leading infectious disease specialist, Fauci is a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and is frequently the only voice of reason in the daily briefings that have devolved into bizarro Saturday Night Live skits.
Speaking with Snapchat’s Peter Hamby as part of a week-long interview series, the former high school hoopster laid out some criteria for the return of basketball and other athletic endeavors.
“There’s a way of doing that,” Fauci explained (video below). “Nobody comes to the stadium. Put them (athletes) in big hotels, wherever you want to play. Keep them very well surveilled…and have them tested like every week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family and just let them play the season out.”
Fauci wasn’t just speaking as one of the foremost medical authorities in the world, though, he was coming at the conversation as a fan. More specifically, he was coming at is as a fan of the only World Series champion since the Cubs to not be investigated for rampant electronic cheating.
“People say, ‘well you can’t play without spectators,’” Fauci said. “Well, I think you’ll probably get enough buy-in from people who are dying to see a baseball game. Particularly me. I’m living in Washington — we have the world champion in the Washington Nationals. I want to see them play again.”
Though it’s not the same as proactive testing, MLB is participating in a study that will test up to 10,000 people for coronavirus antibodies in an effort to understand how the disease spreads in major metro populations. This isn’t a matter of bringing the game back quicker and these tests are not taking access away from at-risk individuals or healthcare workers, etc.
Further, the results, doctors said, will not help determine whether MLB can return any sooner. The information used for the study will be de-identified, and player involvement will depend on the team. Everyone from players to concession workers will receive antibody tests.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) April 14, 2020
Though what Fauci is saying may come across as pretty standard fare these days, it’s good to have a little positive information to share. Even if you’re not ready to paint your face and jump on StubHub, the idea that we could yet have sports in some form yet in 2020 is worth discussing.