For more than a month now, the sports world has been on hold as the United States continues to battle the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. But while the return of sports in 2020 has remained up in the air -- and in some cases, in doubt -- Dr. Anthony Fauci said he can envision a scenario where teams are back on the field as soon as this summer.
The nation's top infectious disease expert and one of the faces of the United States' coronavirus response, Fauci has been holding a weeklong interview series with Snapchat's Peter Hamby. And on Wednesday, Fauci laid out his suggestion for how sports could make their return this summer -- albeit without any fans in the stands.
"There's a way of doing that," Fauci answered when asked a question about an abbreviated baseball season and football season starting. "Nobody comes to the stadium. Put [the players] in big hotels, wherever you want to play, keep them pretty well surveilled ... have them tested every single week and make sure they don't wind up infecting each other or their family and just let them play the season out."
Fauci's suggestion is similar to the idea that was floated by Major League Baseball earlier this month when ESPN's Jeff Passan reported the league was looking at having all 30 teams relocate to Arizona to play the 2020 campaign. According to Passan, the plan would call for players, coaching staffs and other essential personnel to be sequestered at local hotels, where they would live in relative isolation and travel only to the stadium and back with games being played at Spring Training facilities and Chase Field.
As for when fans will be allowed to return to stadiums, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said on Tuesday that he anticipates mass gatherings being "the last thing that we check off the box." But while there are still some hurdles to clear -- especially with testing -- Fauci's comments mark a potentially encouraging sign that sports could be making their return sooner than some may have thought.