Dr. Anthony Fauci: NFL Football Games ‘Perfect Setup’ for Coronavirus Flareup

Posted on: May 11, 2020, 02:13h. 

Last updated on: May 11, 2020, 02:36h.

The NFL has released its regular season schedule. But Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, has concerns that professional football games could create an ideal environment for COVID-19 to cause chaos with a second wave of the coronavirus.

Anthony Fauci coronavirus NFL
Dr. Anthony Fauci, seen here on the far right next to Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump at a White House Task Force briefing in March, says the NFL needs to play by the coronavirus rules to safeguard players and fans. (Image: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Fauci, who has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984, chatted with NBC Sports Monday to give his opinions on the NFL restart.

“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,” Fauci explained. The doctor said sweat isn’t the issue, as the 2019 coronavirus is a respiratory disease. Instead, on a football field, it could be transmitted by shedding.

“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,” he stated. “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.”

If people are in such close contact as football players are on every single play, then that’s the perfect set up for spreading,” Fauci declared.

Assuming the NFL season occurs, oddsmakers have the Kansas City Chiefs favored to repeat in the Super Bowl at +650. The champs are followed by the Baltimore Ravens (+700), San Francisco 49ers (+900), New Orleans Saints (+1200), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1500).

Prepared to Sideline Superstars

Last season, quarterback Patrick Mahomes led his Chiefs to their first Super Bowl win in 50 years. The 24-year-old was named MVP of the big game, and enters the 2020-21 NFL season as the odds-on favorite to win the regular season MVP award at +380.

Fauci says if the NFL wants to do things right and best protect its players, it needs to mandate that those who test positive for coronavirus are sidelined for an appropriate amount of time – at least 14 days.

Asked by NBC’s Peter King, “I take it teams have to be willing to say, ‘If Patrick Mahomes tests positive on a Saturday night, he’s got to disappear for two weeks?'” Fauci answered, “Absolutely. It would be malpractice in medicine to put him on the field.”

That is a nightmare scenario for oddsmakers, who would need to factor in potential unexpected absences at any given moment.

Betting on Fauci

In this bizarre world with no sports, bettors have turned to offbeat markets – and Fauci isn’t immune to the wagering action.

On the political betting exchange PredictIt, bettors have been taking odds on whether he will still hold his position of NIAID director on June 1. “Yes” shares are currently trading at 94 cents, up from 89 cents at the beginning of May.

Fauci and President Donald Trump have maintained publicly that their relationship is fine. But rumors from Inside the Beltway have suggested that the two have butted heads in handling the pandemic.