The government’s leading infectious disease expert told CNN on Thursday that the NFL will need to take significant steps in order to conduct a season this fall.
During an interview with CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the NFL will need to consider playing games in a “bubble,” much like how the NBA and MLS plan on resuming their seasons later this summer.
"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," Dr. Fauci told CNN. "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's comments come as several states, including Arizona and Florida have seen a jump in coronavirus cases.
As of now, the NFL continues to plan on playing games in home stadiums.
But decisions on moving forward will need to be made in the coming weeks, with training camp starting in a month, and preseason games in August.
NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills told the NFL Network that placing NFL players in a “bubble” was not realistic. The number of players and coaches employed by the NFL is considerably higher than the MLS and NBA.
"Dr. Fauci has identified the important health and safety issues we and the NFL Players Association, together with our joint medical advisors, are addressing to mitigate the health risk to players, coaches and other essential personnel," Sills said in a statement to the NFL Network."We are developing a comprehensive and rapid-result testing program and rigorous protocols that call for a shared responsibility from everyone inside our football ecosystem. This is based on the collective guidance of public health officials, including the White House task force, the CDC, infectious disease experts, and other sports leagues.
"Make no mistake, this is no easy task. We will make adjustments as necessary to meet the public health environment as we prepare to play the 2020 season as scheduled with increased protocols and safety measures for all players, personnel and attendees. We will be flexible and adaptable in this environment to adjust to the virus as needed."