Dr. Anthony Fauci is sounding the alarm bell about the risks of football. In a recent interview on Peter King’s Football Morning in America, Fauci, who is one of the lead doctors on President Trump’s coronavirus task force, said that football is the “perfect set-up for spreading” the coronavirus.
In the interview, Fauci explained that because the coronavirus is a respiratory illness, it is spread mainly through virus shedding.
“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,” Fauci explained.
Fauci said that sweat wouldn’t transmit the virus, but that people who are in close contact, like football players would be on every single play, are at high risk of spreading the virus to one another. Fauci said that if there was one player who was infected, they would shed the virus to whomever they hit while on the field.
Fauci did offer a path forward that he said would make the game safer.
“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,'” he said.
The virus expert emphasized that in order for American football to resume on its normal schedule, the NFL needed to have a testing plan in place, and said that testing teams weekly wouldn’t suffice. Fauci said testing should be daily because a person could be exposed to the virus in the time between appearances on the field.
Fauci was unwilling to say for sure whether he thought the NFL would be able to resume its normal schedule.
“The virus will make the decision for us,” the doctor said.
In the past, Fauci has suggested that football may be able to resume if stadiums were emptied out and other guidelines were put in place to make sure everyone was regularly tested. Even as information on the coronavirus has continued to evolve, Fauci has been clear about the dangers of resuming sporting events too soon and has often suggested that the virus would ultimately dictate when many sports could resume, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.