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Volume 26 No. 228
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Dr. Fauci Talks Sports' Return, Testing, Fans At Stadiums

Fauci does not believe testing athletes is going to have a big negative impact on public access
Photo: Getty Images
Fauci does not believe testing athletes is going to have a big negative impact on public access
Photo: Getty Images
Fauci does not believe testing athletes is going to have a big negative impact on public access
Photo: Getty Images

The MLB season is underway, the NBA season will restart this week and NFL teams are reporting to training camp, and while Dr. Anthony Fauci has "encouraged the return of sports and publicly endorsed the plans of some professional leagues," he also has "offered pleas for caution," according to a Q&A with Ben Cohen of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Below are excerpts from the Q&A, some of which have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Q: We've seen two very different approaches in sports. The NBA built a bubble. MLB and the NFL did not. Do you think baseball and football teams are doing enough to keep themselves safe and keep the community safe?
Fauci: I don't want to comment about relativeness -- is it enough or not. I spoke to (Nationals Owner) Mark Lerner last night and even to the baseball commissioner, and they feel comfortable that the protocols are really adequate to do. I think they probably are. ... I can't imagine the second part of your question as to whether they're posing a risk to the community. The community is not at the game. The community is home watching it on television.

Q: Do you fear that sports leagues are using too many tests when others are struggling to get results?
Fauci: Given the fact that they're looking at doing about 1 million tests a day or more for the country -- which is where we are right now; they’re talking about somewhere between 800,000 and 1 million tests a day -- I cannot imagine that testing sports people is going to have a big dent.

Q: What about turnaround times? Basketball teams are getting results back in a day, which is great. But other people are waiting a week or 10 days.
Fauci: I don’t see the dots between sports getting their results back quickly and other groups not as being necessarily connected.

Q: What would you like to see happen for baseball and football stadiums here to have fans again?
Fauci: They've got to have a considerable degree of distancing. I think they should mandate that if you want to go into an arena or a stadium that you have to have a mask on. They shouldn't back off that (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/27).