NFL still plans on season despite Dr. Fauci's concerns
The NFL is still planning for a 2020 season despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Training camps are scheduled to open in a little over a month. But should they? And should there be even be a season? Those questions were raised Thursday by the nation's top infectious disease doctor.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading voice in the United States’ response to the pandemic, said in an interview with CNN that without some type of isolation policy, he doesn’t see how football can operate safely.
"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,” said Fauci. “If there is a second wave (of Coronavirus), which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year."
The NFL maintains that a bubble environment, like the ones planned for the NBA and NHL, will not work for football. Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, responded to Dr. Fauci’s statements later on Thursday. "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 NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. "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."
The Packers are scheduled to report for training camp in Green Bay on July 28th.