Dr. Anthony Fauci lays out scenario for a return to sports — but only in fan-free arenas

Dr. Anthony Fauci. Alex Brandon/AP Photo

Like much of the nation, Dr. Anthony Fauci wants to watch some live baseball.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert laid out the scenario for sports to continue amid the coronavirus pandemic: without fans in the seats.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke about the prospect of the U.S.’s top-tier sports returning with Snapchat’s Peter Hamby on the platform’s “Good Luck America” program on Wednesday.

“There’s a way of doing that,” Fauci explained. “Nobody comes to the stadium.”

Fauci laid out the scenario: Keeping players sequestered and testing them frequently, to avoid infection.

“Put them in big hotels, wherever you want to play, and keep them very well surveilled,” he said. “But have them tested like every week and make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family, and just let them play the season out.”

Fauci thinks fans would be eager enough to watch that they wouldn’t mind not being able to attend a game in person. He has a personal motivation, too.

“People say you can’t play without spectators, well, I think you’d probably get enough buy-in from people who are dying to see a baseball game. Particularly, me, I’m living in Washington, we have the world champion Washington Nationals,” he said with a laugh. “I want to see them play again.”

On Tuesday, California governor Gavin Newsom pushed back against the idea of large sporting events taking place this summer: “The prospect of mass gatherings is negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and get to a vaccine,” he said.


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