Coronavirus Information Center

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 22: Dr. Anthony Fauci (R), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, participates in the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on April 22, 2020 in Washington, DC. Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control, has said that a potential second wave of coronavirus later this year could flare up again and coincide with flu season. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a regular at President Donald Trump’s daily COVID-19 briefings, has spoken to sports executives and done various interviews with sports media outlets, and has recently warmed to the idea of coming up with a plan for leagues to return. But he’s also cast some doubt on the idea that leagues could actually return this season.

As the NBA and NHL look toward plans for a return and/or how to plan next season – and as Major League Baseball tries to figure out a way to get their season started – Dr. Fauci wondered in a new Q&A with the New York Times whether they’d be able to ensure safety to actually reopen for business.

Dr. Fauci acknowledges that it may not be impossible to come up with a way to keep players and stadium workers safe, particularly if they play games without fans in attendance. But he also cautioned sports fans not to get their hopes too high.

“I don’t want to make this conversation sound like it’s going to be an easy thing. We may not be able to pull this off. We’re going to have to see: Is it doable? Do we have the capability of doing it safely? Because safety, for the players and for the fans, trumps everything. 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.’”

Dr. Fauci previously said that it seems feasible for leagues to return in the summer – if they can isolate and test players and game-day staffers, and make sure that it’s safe to have them all in the building together and interacting with each other. He’s just also making a habit to say, “Yeah but we could just be dreaming.” “Yeah, but.” “Yeah…”

For now you can hold on to the glimmer of hope he keeps giving that leagues will get creative to get their games back on our TVs. Let’s wish it into existence like the bunch of sports-starved lunatics we are.

Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt Doloff? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at

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