Dr. Fauci: Bubble plan only way forward for football in ’20

Without a bubble environment to control the spread of the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci doubts football can take place in 2020.

The NBA, MLS and WNBA are moving ahead with plans to resume seasons delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic by setting up campus environments or “bubbles” to help control the spread of the novel coronavirus through isolation and minimal contact with outsiders who might be positive for the virus.

Fauci, who leads the White House task force on COVID-19, is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. On May 11, Fauci said in an interview with NBC that football could be possible this fall with ample testing.

He wasn’t as optimistic Thursday.

empty Camp Randall Stadium
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“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Fauci said in a CNN interview. “If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.”

The NFL plans to have all players report to training camp in July — 28 teams report on July 28 — but reportedly has considered reducing the number of preseason games from the typical four, as scheduled, to two per team.

The regular season is scheduled to start Sept. 10.

The NCAA is also moving forward with plans to start the season on time. On Wednesday, at the recommendation of the college football advisory board, a six-week training camp window starting in July was approved.

Fauci labeled football the “perfect setup” for rapid spread of the coronavirus due to close and near-constant contact.

ESPN reported earlier this week the NFL would test players every three days during training camp and into the season. Fauci indicated in May that wouldn’t be sufficient.

“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.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)