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The Lounge>Dr. Fauci on likihood of NFL football being played in the fall
Deberg_1990 11:50 AM 05-11-2020
Doesn't sound too promising.....

Toward the end of a 20-minute telephone interview Saturday evening with America’s COVID-19 expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, I asked a question about testing, and about NFL teams playing football this fall.
“Suppose,” I asked, “you test a team of 53 players on a Saturday night and four are positive. Is there a level at which—”
Fauci, the director of the National Institutes for Health since 1984, interrupted. “You got a problem there,” he said. “You know why? Because it is likely that if four of them are positive and they’ve been hanging around together, that the other ones that are negative are really positive. So I mean, if you have one outlier [only one player testing positive], I think you might get away. But once you wind up having a situation where it looks like it’s spread within a team, you got a real problem. You gotta shut it down.”
Shut it down. Quarantine the team, he means. For 14 days. The next two games for that team? Cancelled or postponed. That could be life in the NFL in 2020.
“Also,” I said, “I take it that teams have to be willing to say, If Patrick Mahomes tests positive on a Saturday night, he’s got to disappear for two weeks.”
“Absolutely, absolutely,” Fauci said. “It would be malpractice in medicine to put him on the field, absolutely.”
Talking to Fauci was enlightening, if only to reinforce what most people in America who care to be informed about this coronavirus are thinking right now: We don’t know the future. Anthony Fauci doesn’t know the future either. Our fate, and certainly the NFL’s fate in 2020, depends on so many things we can’t know now—how long this spread will last, how severe the second wave of it will be later this year or early in 2021, whether we can go into a football season, college or pro, with any certainty it will play out till its conclusion, whether fans will attend no games or all of them this season. I wanted Fauci to tell me, and tell the country, whether we’ll be able to play out the 256-game regular season the NFL just announced, with a February Super Bowl, and some bit of normalcy back in this abnormal world.
But Dr. Fauci couldn’t say, because no one can.
“The virus,” he said, “will make the decision for us.”

Fauci on the NFL trumps all today (no pun intended), but please take time to read a dozen Don Shula stories from storytellers close to him after the death of the NFL’s winningest coach last week. Also in the column: The schedule, the big favor the NFL did for ESPN, the virtual learning, the Dolphins quirks, the making of a new national team (hint: the coach wears Kangols), the new world of Greg Olsen . . . lots to read today.
This interview with Fauci, which was off and on and off and finally on late in the day Saturday, was done with the idea that I’d get a good picture of what the NFL faces in the coming months. I think I did—but that doesn’t mean it’s a clear picture.
“How can I help you?” Fauci began when we connected.

The question we all have, I believe, is whether it makes sense to aim for negative-testing pro football players to compete in empty stadiums starting in September. Fauci suggested stadiums might not have to be empty all season.
“I think it’s feasible that negative testing players could play to an empty stadium,” Fauci said. “Is it guaranteed? No way . . . There will be virus out there and you will know your players are negative at the time they step onto the field. You’re not endangering . . . Also, if the virus is so low that even in the general community the risk is low, then I could see filling a third of the stadium or half the stadium so people could be six feet apart. I mean, that’s something that is again feasible depending on the level of infection. I keep getting back to that: It’s going to depend. Like, right now, if you fast forward, and it is now September. The season starts. I say you can’t have a season—it’s impossible. There’s too much infection out there. It doesn’t matter what you do. But I would hope that by the time you get to September it’s not gonna be the way it is right now.”
It’s clear he thinks the NFL has time on its side. Not just because he sees the virus waning by Labor Day, certainly, but because of other factors that are calendar-friendly. One: The availability of tests should make massive testing by August and September easier. Two: We should be far more prepared to handle the disease as it loosens its grip on society, even with the prospect of a second wave hitting later in the fall. Three: Increased Antogen testing might increase the prospect that a significant segment of society—including, presumably, football players—could be made immune to the virus by plasma donations.
The biggest factor on the NFL’s side might be this: We’re going to be smarter about everything related to the disease in three months, when teams hope to gather for some sort of team training. Think of where we were two months ago today. On March 11, we were still dining out, still shaking hands, still driving to and from work. Three months from now, on Aug. 11, we really don’t know where we’ll be, because three months is an eternity in the race to conquer this virus.
Take testing, for example. I said to Dr. Fauci that if the 32 NFL teams tested players, coach and vital personnel twice a week, that would probably consume about 200,000 COVID-19 tests for the season. I asked Dr. Fauci if that might be reasonable by mid- to late-August, or a bit piggish?

“That’s a great question,” he said. “Right now, it would be overwhelmingly piggish. But by the end of August, we should have in place Antigen testings . . . You could test millions of people, millions of people. But again, we have to make sure that the companies that are doing these tests actually produce them. Which given the country that we have, such a rich country, I would be very surprised if we can’t do that.”
Football’s a different sport than many trying to figure a route back to play. With so much physical contact, I wondered, could the virus be transmissible more in this game than others, with players sweating on each other and gripping and tackling each other?
“Sweat does not do it,” Fauci said. “This is a respiratory virus, so it’s going to be spread by shedding virus. The problem with virus shedding is that if I have it in my nasal pharynx, and it sheds and I wipe my hand against my nose—now it’s on my hand. You see, then I touch my chest or my thigh, then it’s on my chest or my thigh for at least a few hours. Sweat as such won’t transmit it. But if people are in such close contact as football players are on every single play, then that’s the perfect set up for spreading. I would think that if there is an infected football player on the field—a middle linebacker, a tackle, whoever it is it—as soon as they hit the next guy, the chances are that they will be shedding virus all over that person.
“If you really want to be in a situation where you want to be absolutely certain, you’d test all the players before the game. And you say, Those who are infected: Sorry, you’re sidelined. Those who are free: Get in there and play.”
And test more than once a week, if you can.
“If I test today, and I’m negative, you don’t know if I got exposed tomorrow . . . There’s no guarantee that you’re going to get exposed and be positive the next day. To give you an example, you’re probably reading in the newspapers that there’s an infection in the White House. I was exposed to that person. So I immediately got tested. I am negative. So, I’m negative yesterday. I don’t know if I’m going to be negative Monday. Understand? It’s almost an impossible situation. To be 100 percent sure, you’ve got to test every day. But that’s not practical and that’s never going to happen. But you can diminish dramatically by testing everybody Saturday night, Sunday morning, and say OK, only negative players play.”

Fauci said two weeks ago that it’s “inevitable” the virus will return in the fall, and it could make “for a bad fall and a bad winter.” That begs the natural question about how it could affect whether the NFL would be able to get in a full season.
“The answer is not going to be black and white,” Fauci said. “When I said there’s no doubt the virus is going to return, that is in response to some who have said ‘Oh, it’s just going to disappear.’ So, unlike the virus SARS, back in 2002, when we had an outbreak of about 8,000 people and close to 800 deaths, and then the virus just essentially petered out by good public health measures by the simple reason that it wasn’t efficiently or effectively transmitted from one person to another. In other words, it was not an efficient spreader. So that when you tamp down on it with public health measures, it actually got to the point where it disappeared.
“That’s not the case with this novel coronavirus. It is so transmissible, and it is so widespread throughout the world, that even if our infections get well controlled and go down dramatically during the summer, there is virtually no chance it will be eradicated. Which means there will be infections in the Southern Hemisphere, in South Africa, in Argentina, places like that. And with the travel, the global travel, every single day, of literally hundreds of thousands of people coming into the United States every day from all over, there’s no chance we’re going to be virus-free.”
No chance. Which leaves NFL teams under tremendous pressure to create pristine environments in places that, traditionally, are hardly pristine.
“As for the football season and what the fall is going to be: It will be entirely dependent on the effectiveness with which we as a society respond to the inevitable outbreak that will occur. So what are the options? If we let it just go, and we don’t have a good response, you can have an outbreak somewhat similar. Probably not as bad, because we got hit really with a 1-2 punch, particularly in New York City and New Orleans and Chicago. But we can expect an outbreak that would be serious. That’s if we do nothing. So it’s inconceivable that we would do nothing. What we’re saying is what is going to be the effectiveness of our response? . . .

Now, even if the virus goes down dramatically in June and July and August, as the virus starts returning in the fall, it would be in my mind, shame on us if we don’t have in place all of the mechanisms to prevent it from blowing up again. In other words, enough testing to test everybody that needs to be tested. Enough testing so that when someone gets infected, you could immediately do contact tracing and isolation to prevent the infection from going to a couple of infections to hundreds of infections. That’s how you control an outbreak.
“So, practically speaking, the success or failure, the ability or not, to actually have a football season is going to depend on just on what I said . . . but what I’m really saying is it’s unpredictable depending upon how we respond in the fall.”
I asked this about working with President Trump, who has been pretty clear that he wants sports, and normalcy, to return to the country: How much does that have to whether football will be played this fall?
“No, well, you know,” he said, a bit cautiously, “I could only give my medical advice. If there’s infection out there, and I say I think that we should lock down or not, I’m just an opinion among many. Whether people listen to my public health opinion or override it, that’s out of my hands.”
Fauci said the NFL hasn’t reached out to talk to him. But if Roger Goodell or chief medical officer Allen Sills did, Fauci said he’d say much of what he said here. And this, about sports in the United States this fall and winter: “It is uncertain. You’ll have to play it by ear according to the level of infection in the community.”
PackerinMo 12:36 PM 05-11-2020
Originally Posted by CoMoChief:
Fauci is a fraud. A WHO sleezebag, bought n paid for by Bill Gates.

Trump should have never hired the guy on his team.
If football comes back he will lose the spotlight, can’t have that.
carcosa 12:37 PM 05-11-2020
Originally Posted by PackerinMo:
I’m furious about it, which why I’m super negative right now.
Yeah sorry for the thumbs down, jeering the idea of football going away forever moreso than your post
Halfcan 12:39 PM 05-11-2020
Halfcan 12:41 PM 05-11-2020
Originally Posted by raidersnumber1:
translation: consider 2020 cancelled

what a bummer losing a year of Mahomes prime

Fader fans are so scared of the Chiefs sweeping them again, they are rooting for the season to be canceled. :-)
Kiimosabi 12:41 PM 05-11-2020
Blaming Fauci for this is peak CP
Mecca 12:42 PM 05-11-2020
Originally Posted by Kiimosabi:
Blaming Fauci for this is peak CP
Pretty much, I kinda laughed at some of the posts I won't lie.
EPodolak 12:45 PM 05-11-2020
Don't have a logical response so I'll offer up something about deserted islands and herd immunity and ... play ball.
DaFace 12:46 PM 05-11-2020
The biggest surprise to me is that some of you are surprised.
kcclone 12:46 PM 05-11-2020
Covid is like 10% real and 90% media hysteria.

The numbers simply don’t add up to stopping everything for the next 12 months.
CasselGotPeedOn 12:49 PM 05-11-2020
The season is gonna happen one way or another.
KCUnited 12:49 PM 05-11-2020
Need to sit out this virus so we can get back to our CTE in 2021
tk13 12:49 PM 05-11-2020
I think football is going to have the hardest time, just because the teams are so big and the game is played at such close range. At least with baseball pretty much everyone is 6 feet apart except the pitcher and catcher, and if someone is at 1st base.

Football you've guys huddling up, and then going into in the trenches against each other 70-80 times a game.

If this thing isn't going downhill by the end of the June I think they're going to have a hard time. The way things are progressing I'm kind of skeptical. And that doesn't even get into what happens if it comes back in the fall.
Mecca 12:49 PM 05-11-2020
Originally Posted by CasselGotPeedOn:
The season is gonna happen one way or another.
Because you said so?
Mecca 12:50 PM 05-11-2020
Originally Posted by DaFace:
The biggest surprise to me is that some of you are surprised.
We call that burying your head in the sand and pretending reality doesn't exist.
KC_Lee 12:52 PM 05-11-2020
Sure the networks, Dish TV, and cable providers are just giddy with this prognosis.
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