Dr. Anthony Fauci: Football “the perfect set up for spreading”

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When California Gov. Gavin Newsom expressed some skepticism about the return of sports as we know it, in a stadium full of fans, he asked what happened to players when one tests positive — do you shut down the entire offensive line if it’s a lineman, or the entire defensive line because of their proximity?

The guy who understands this stuff better than anyone explained how quickly the coronavirus can move from person to person on a football field — an environment not given to social distancing.

Infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America that widespread testing of players would be the first step, and the obvious acknowledgement that any player who tests positive has to be quarantined because of how rapidly it would spread in an athletic environment.

“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.”

That’s going to require so many tests that imagining it now would either be sheer folly or greedy on the part of a sports league. But Fauci hopes that the coming months bring increased access to tests. He’s also in modified quarantine after contact with a person who tested positive at the White House, where staffers are tested daily, showing how quickly things can change.

“If I test today, and I’m negative, you don’t know if I got exposed tomorrow,” Fauci said. “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.”

That creates a number of questions for football teams in the context of the game alone, as they’ll have to be cognizant of depth and have backups ready to go at a moment’s notice — because that’s how quickly a game plan can change with one positive test.

27 responses to “Dr. Anthony Fauci: Football “the perfect set up for spreading”

  1. The Raiders are the best equipped to handle this with their incredible depth.

    Several backups that would start for most teams.

    Mayock is the clear frontrunner for Executive of the Year.

    Just Win Baby.

  2. As an ICU RN I have seen many false-positive and false-negative tests. The testing has to improve dramatically for it to be considered as reliable as needed from the evidence I’ve seen in the last few months.

  3. The NFL should make roster exemptions this year to allow more players on the active roster because I think they’re going to need it.

  4. There shouldn’t be any reason why tests can’t be conducted daily for some workers, and players, too.
    They talk about manufacturing tests by the million.
    Where are they?

  5. I’m left wondering why Fauci is seen as the sole authority on this disease. His analysis has not always been spot on, and a review of his comments in January and February will reveal that. One of the reasons government officials at all levels were seen as being too late on their responses is because many health experts, including Fauci, were downplaying the threat of the virus during the first two months of the year.

    This shutdown is not going to last into June; Americans just aren’t going to put up with it. Eventually everyone will get exposed to this virus, and based on what we’ve seen so far, most of us will likely be non-symptomatic. The only purpose for the shutdown is to slow the spread of the virus, not to stop it; this was done to prevent our nation’s hospitals from being overwhelmed.

    Like it or not, Fauci’s is not the final word on this. Given the choice, most Americans are going to want to get the spread of the virus over with, and get on with life. The only thing a shutdown accomplishes is a slow down of the spread; it will NOT stop it. Shutting down the most popular sport in America, and costing our nation’s largest cities billions of dollars in tax revenue and commerce isn’t going to fly.

  6. Why don’t we just get to the point. Summer is cancelled because Summer consists of 3 shoulder to shoulder gathering holidays all in a row only 30 days apart. They want all 3 cancelled which means extending the lockdown until at least September. States and governors are smart enough to not say this publicly due to the rioting that will happen; So they are dropping meaningless “steps” that are nothing significant and just a tool to make you feel like the light is beginning to be at the end of the tunnel (example: re-opening golf courses. Then waiting 30 days later to re-open trails because you’re still shutting down any public gatherings for the duration of the Summer and Fall). Then after the third of these mass shoulder to shoulder gathering holidays, Labor Day, is over only minor openings like golf courses and trails have occurred so you can’t suddenly open mass gatherings that occur only 7 days apart, i.e sports events.

    The NFL will be cancelled. Just call for it now instead of this piecemeal approach which is to make us not realize the lockdown is extending to October where ironically the mass shoulder to shoulder gathering happens at that time is one where we all wear masks.

  7. The ones who will suffer the most without football this fall are the fantasy nerds.lol

  8. “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.”

    or just play through the flu. if the players dont have underlying issues, it will be nothing more than flu like symptoms.

  9. golions1 says:
    “..Helmets with face shields. Problem solved…”

    Unless it’s a hermetically sealed diving helmet that won’t do anything.

  10. Governor Newsome has said that he won’t open the State of California until there is a vaccine. We have been working on a vaccine for HIV/ AIDS for 32 years. Yearly Flu vaccines are 50-60% effective. How effective does the Covid vaccine have to be ? In the 2017-2018 80,000 Americans died of the Flu. What did we do about it ? Nothing. When you look at the antibody tracking and see how many people have had Covid divided by the number of deaths ( which is inflated by including people who died but never tested positive and were ” Assumed” to have died of Covid) the death rate is the same as a bad Flu season. We shut everything down because of the assumed high death rate, to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed and to get our PPE , ventilators up to speed. Time to reopen.

  11. When we reopen it can’t be total opening of everything but rather a layered one. Some activities that are least likely to spread the virus and are less likely to cause a mass outbreak will open first. Higher risk ones later. It is hard to imagine better way to spread a disease than a couple of dozen men in a tight space huffing and puffing, grunting, bellowing out at each other, pounding into one another, spewing out sweat and saliva over one another with each blow. All it would take is one false negative test to take out two entire teams. The reliability of our current tests is insufficient. 50 players x 16 games a week x 16 weeks and all it would take is one mistake to shut it all down. When even the White House has been penetrated, when the president’s valet and press secretary who were in contact with the president has tested positive, what kind of confidence can you have that this won’t happen in far less protected spaces? A German soccer league scheduled to play before the NFL season begins will serve as a test of sorts. We’ll see.

  12. Why don’t we just get to the point. Summer is cancelled because Summer consists of 3 shoulder to shoulder gathering holidays all in a row only 30 days apart. They want all 3 cancelled which means extending the lockdown until at least September. States and governors are smart enough to not say this publicly due to the rioting that will happen; So they are dropping meaningless “steps” that are nothing significant and just a tool to make you feel like the light is beginning to be at the end of the tunnel (example: re-opening golf courses. Then waiting 30 days later to re-open trails because you’re still shutting down any public gatherings for the duration of the Summer and Fall). Then after the third of these mass shoulder to shoulder gathering holidays, Labor Day, is over only minor openings like golf courses and trails have occurred so you can’t suddenly open mass gatherings that occur only 7 days apart, i.e sports events.
    The NFL will be cancelled. Just call for it now instead of this piecemeal approach which is to make us not realize the lockdown is extending to October where ironically the mass shoulder to shoulder gathering happens at that time is one where we all wear masks.

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  13. I respect Dr. Fauci. He has done a good job and has been a trusted voice.
    However, i think he is going to far here. They themselves said the problem is not coming in contact with the virus. The problem is transmitting the virus to your fac…nose mouth eyes, where it can enter the body.

    I would think having a helmet on….and probably adding visors will mitigate that and players will either have to wash their hands after returning to the sidelines, keep their helmets on etc and that could and by their own directive on spread, should ensure the virus does nots spread.

    Basketball on the other hand, where you are closely handling someone who brushes up against you, whose hands get in your face etc. that is the prime sport for spread.

  14. Let me add this. This is no different than going to the grocery store and handling items others handled. We all do it. Key is that you sanitize your extremities and these items before touching your face.

    Thus we disinfect these items once we get home….then sanitize surfaces and wash our hands.

    Same for football players who have the coronavirus on their equipment.

    As for guys like Brees and the finger licking, those guys have always been exposed. That football is touched by so many people then they lick their fingers. I always thought that was a disgusting habit. Whatever is on that football is being transferred to your body when you lick your dirty fingers…..but then again these guys immune system has been working constantly to kill these germs for years, so they may be stronger than most.

    But that is a personal habit that we all are learning to abandon. Am one of these people who’s hand is always in their face….am learning to be mindful of that and do not go out any more than i need.

  15. One last thing….If any sport can have their participants use an air purifier of some sort or enclosed helmet and carry a device that purifies the air, it’s football players….how ridiculously great would that be?

  16. This flu isn’t going away. We can’t live this way the rest of our lives. Let’s GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

  17. Here’s an idea….Build the helmets like what the jet fighters have. Helmet, facemask and breathing apparatus. Integrate the hose for breathing into the helmet with the filter on the back of the helmet.

    Thus you have a tight fitting piece over the nose that can handle the breathing and movement of the players.

    With a Customer like the NFL calling, many companie would put the research and development in knowing their item would be in demand if this virus hangs around….in fact many spectator would buy the mask to attend games.

  18. By August, we’ll have all the tests we need. Test every player Sunday morning and sit the guys who test positive. Have hand sanitizer on the sidelines and make every player use it when he comes off the field. Quit looking for reasons not to open things and start looking for solutions.

    Fauci is not the only medical expert in the world. If you read a little bit, you’ll see that there are plenty of medical experts who don’t agree with everything he says. “Science” is not a monolith, it’s a quest for knowledge. We’re learning more every day. If people could keep politics out of their science, we’ll be able to handle this far sooner than most expect.

  19. edukator44 says:
    May 11, 2020 at 8:41 am

    or just play through the flu. if the players dont have underlying issues, it will be nothing more than flu like symptoms.
    —————————————

    You clearly don’t know anyone personally who has lived through COVID-19.

  20. MortimerInMiami says:
    May 11, 2020 at 8:37 am
    The ones who will suffer the most without football this fall are the fantasy nerds.lol
    ______________________________

    You think, just wait until you hear these broke players crying if there isn’t football! They only get paid if they play, that’s why they’re called “game checks”.

    Like in the strike year, just a few weeks into the strike most players were crying to go back to work, most of these guys have no money sense at all and they blow through every penny they make on stupid crap like rides, bling & 1st class seats.

  21. The answer is anti-body testing. If you have anti-bodies, you’re good to go (and based on recent studies, it’s likely many NFL players already have them, and more will by fall). If you don’t have anti-bodies, then you get tested every day and if you test positive you sit out a couple weeks. Secondarily, the odds of dying from the disease are extremely minimal for young healthy people…so option two is get over the fear-mongering and get on with life. Governments make decisions every day about safety vs. chance of death for things like roads, medications, pesticides, etc.,etc. So why are we losing our damn minds over a virus showing single decimal point fatality rate? HMMMMM??

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