Fauci: Team Sports Might Not Happen in 2020

Mar 11, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Knicks fan Michael Layton of Kennesaw, Ga. wears a black mask and rubber gloves before a Knicks game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The prospect of playing team sports in the New York Metropolitan Area in 2020 is getting dimmer and dimmer with each passing day. Sure, the five major sports leagues are devising plans to resume activities but the grim reality is that it simply may be too risky to do until we get a firm grip on what this virus is all about and how we can safeguard ourselves from it.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the famed immunologist who is currently serving on the White House COVID-19 Task Force, is painting a discouraging picture of America with no sports. That is, unless the government as society can ramp up certain vital behaviors and practices.

“Safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything,” Fauci said. “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.’”

That safety will vary from region to region. Some states in the U.S. have very few COVID-19 infections and deaths. New York and New Jersey are far outdistancing the rest of the country in both areas. Of the 1.035 million reported infections, 415,306 are in New York and New Jersey.

It is inconceivable that large venues will be permitted to open with such a high rate of infection in the area. The prospect of playing games in front of fans in 2020 is almost remote. Dr. Fauci outlined what needs to happen for the leagues to even think about putting fans back into the stands.

“What we need to do is get it, as a country and as individual locations, under control. That sometimes takes longer than you would like, and if we let our desire to prematurely get back to normal, we can only get ourselves right back in the same hole we were in a few weeks ago.

“We’ve got to make sure that when we try to get back to normal, including being able to play baseball in the summer and football in the fall and basketball in the winter, that when we do come back to some form of normality, we do it gradually and carefully. And when cases do start to rebound — which they will, no doubt — that we have the capability of identifying, isolating and contact tracing.”

With the rush to return to normalcy and the population getting stir crazy with cabin fever, it is unlikely that the country can get their arms around the pandemic. That means restrictions of large gatherings and social distancing will likely be in place until the virus runs its course.

That may not be until 2021 and many fans, even though they are clamoring for team sports to resume are not willing to attend stadiums and arenas anyway until conditions improve – vastly.