Nathan Solomon
Madison Square Garden
Mar 12, 2020; New York, New York, USA; St. John’s Red Storm and Creighton Bluejays go through introductions before playing their Big East Tournament game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and White House coronavirus taskforce member, expressed caution in a return to sports recently in an interview. He’s been a crucial figure in the COVID-19 situation over the last 60 days and says some sports may not be able to return until 2021.

“Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything,” said Fauci in an interview with the New York 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.'”

In previous interviews, the 79-year-old has said that he thinks sports can come back with several precautions. One of those sports he has said is baseball, stating he’s a big Washington Nationals fan.

Right now, NASCAR has a set return date in May, and the PGA has set dates to play in June. The MLB is working on a plan to begin the regular season in home stadiums by the end of June. The NBA and NHL are working on scenarios to play the remainder of their regular season and playoffs, while the NFL is working on possible scheduling alternatives. The WNBA has postponed the start of its season.

“I would love to be able to have all sports back,” said Fauci. “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 not ready for that yet.”

Each day, the situation is improving, and more states are beginning to ease stay-at-home restrictions. Sports would obviously be great to have back and a good distraction, as long as all participating bodies are as safe as possible.