Three days after the CIAC unveiled a plan to stage an abbreviated fall sports season amid the coronavirus crisis, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force, was asked how high school sports will fit into the state’s plans for the reopening of schools.
Fauci, who appeared at Gov. Ned Lamont’s afternoon press conference Monday, said the return of sports will hinge on several issues.
“It really depends on a case by case basis, on the sport itself, and what the level of infection is,” Fauci said. “From what I’m seeing, the metrics in the state of Connecticut … you’re in a good place. But you still should abide by the (recommendations) that I mentioned, about the five or six things that you should adhere to.
“If you can do that in the context of safely doing sports, fine. If not, then you may have to suspend it.”
Among the recommendations from Fauci: social distancing, the use of masks, sanitizing surfaces.
But Fauci said the opening of schools and the return of sports is really an apples-to-oranges comparison.
“It depends on the sport and it depends on what you’re talking about, vis-a-vis, contact versus non-contact, spectators versus non-spectators,” he said. “If you’re talking about, you have a low level of infection that should you have this sport (and) go ahead.
“If you decide, you’ll have to ask the questions … the state recommendation is, you don’t want crowds, particularly indoor crowds. So should you have spectators or not? If you do, how far apart should they be? Should they wear masks? I would recommend they do.”
Last week, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel — vice provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and a health advisor under President Barack Obama — expressed doubt that fall sports were viable.
“I don’t think so,” Emanuel said. “We recommend, if you look at our risk graphic, that contact sports of any type not be played. I understand … giving up something that is a crucial part of your life. But we do need to be safe and put safety No. 1. And I think contact sports are not a good idea. NFL is going to try it with a bubble. You can’t have a bubble in high school. You have transportation, you have lots of things that are going to complicate having a football season. For one year, I think we’re going to have to take a miss on it.”