(CNN)Don’t get your hopes up, football fans.
Even without spectators in the seats, Dr. Anthony Fauci warned in an interview with NBC Sports’ Peter King that NFL games could be the “perfect setup for spreading” coronavirus.
“I think it’s feasible that negative-testing players could play to an empty stadium,” Fauci said in the interview. “Is it guaranteed? No way.”
However, Fauci cautioned that it all depends on the level of infection in the community — if the infection rate is still high, “you can’t have a season — it’s impossible,” he said.
The interview came nearly two weeks after Fauci said in an interview with The New York Times that some sports may have to prepare to not play out this season, and a week after the NFL released its regular season schedule. The league is preparing for games to start this fall, despite CDC guidelines warning against large events and mass gatherings.
In the NBC Sports interview, the straight-talking doctor painted a scenario to show how easy it is for players in a close contact sport such as football to spread the virus. While Fauci said that sweat won’t transmit the virus, someone with the virus could easily spread it to different parts of their body, and as soon as they come in contact with another player, it could just as easily infect them.
When King asked Fauci what would happen if four players on a team tested positive, Fauci was blunt: You would have to “shut it down.”
“You got a problem there,” Fauci said to King.
“You know why? Because it is likely that if four of them are positive and they’ve been hanging around together, that the other ones that are negative are really positive. So, I mean, if you have one outlier (only one player testing positive), I think you might get away. But once you wind up having a situation where it looks like it’s spread within a team, you got a real problem. You gotta shut it down,” he said.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, told CNN on Monday he himself will begin a “modified quarantine” after making a “low-risk” contact with the White House staffer who tested positive for the coronavirus.
The “low risk” assessment means he was not in close proximity to the person who tested positive during the time when that person was known to be positive for the virus.