Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, again warned Monday that the resumption of professional sports, especially when the regular season of the National Football League (NFL) begins, must be done. with the maximum of sanitary guarantees.
Fauci, in an interview with NBCSports.com, noted that the NFL may be the “perfect setup” for spreading the coronavirus, so diligent testing and how the nation responds to a second wave of the virus in the fall will help determine what the 2020 NFL season could be like.
“The virus will make the decision for us,” reiterated Fauci, one of the prominent and key members of the White House working group on COVID-19.
Although time is in the NFL’s favor, since the regular season is not scheduled to begin until Thursday, September 10, when the Kansas City Chiefs, current Super Bowl champions, will host the Houston Texans, it is not certain. that by then the coronavirus pandemic is under control.
Then there will be the Sunday of the First Week of competition, on Sunday September 13, which will leave a complete schedule of 15 games.
Fauci said that right now “there is too much infection” for there to be a normal season, adding that “I hope that when September arrives, the coronavirus crisis will not be as it is now.”
The expert explained to NBCSports.com that sweat is not a threat in spreading the virus, but the danger of players getting rid of it would still be high during a football game.
“This is a respiratory virus, so it will spread if it is not completely eliminated from the body. The problem with virus elimination is that if I have it in the nasopharynx, it will come off and touch my nose, now it will be in my hand “Fauci stressed.
“Then it can go to my chest or thigh if I touch it with my hand and stay for several hours. Sweat as such will not transmit it. But if people are in as close contact as it happens in football in every action, then that’s the perfect setting for the virus to spread. “
“I think if there is an infected soccer player on the field, a center linebacker, a tackle, whoever it is, as soon as they hit the next opponent, chances are they are transmitting virus to that person,” Fauci explained.
From the arrival of a patient a strict protocol is followed.
Faced with this reality, Fauci affirmed that “if you really want to achieve a situation in which you are looking for greater security, you would test all the players before the game and those who test positive will not be able to compete and those who test negative will. It is that simple.”
Fauci told NBCSports.com that players who test positive for the virus should be quarantined for 14 days.
In addition, he indicated that the tests several times a week would be more effective because, “if I do the test today and I am negative, it does not guarantee that tomorrow I will not be able to get infected.”
He gave an example of how he was recently exposed to an infection at the White House. They examined it immediately and it was negative, but that does not mean that it would be negative the next day.
Everyday tests are not “practice”, but the NFL could decrease the chance of spreading “dramatically testing everyone on Saturday night, Sunday morning, and saying, OK, only negative players compete.”
There are four other suspected cases. Children present symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, among others.
Fauci stressed that “it is feasible that players with negative tests can play in an empty stadium” and if the virus level in the nation is low enough so that the risk for fans is low, “he could see how a third of the stadium or half with fans that allow people to be at least two meters apart. “
The specialist insisted that, ultimately, a football season “will depend entirely on the effectiveness with which we as a society respond to the inevitable outbreak that will occur” in the fall.
“So, in summary, the success or failure, the ability or not, to have a soccer season will depend on what I said, but what I really maintain is that it is unpredictable to consider how we respond in the fall”, Fauci appreciated.