Yahoo Sports conducts phone interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, where he spells out possible timelines for fans attending sports and entertainment events - as opposed to apocalyptic fan cutouts.
First the somewhat bad news. Fauci has unrestricted stadium and arenas as one of the last restrictions to be lifted when the Covid pandemic finally eases, estimating the second half of 2021. He believes there will not be full capacity at NBA (and assuming NHL) games during the regular season and that even full attendance for July playoff games will be 'cutting it close'. It is a given that most college basketball games will be played without fans as the NCAA seeks a single geographical bubble for all of March Madnesss. Dr. Fauci's timeline also suggests slow going for Major League Baseball venues for a good portion of its season. Fauci is also worried about the immediate future - warning about 'surge after surge' in the coming weeks.
The promising news - Fauci is optimistic on fans being able to return for the college and NFL 2021 regular season. "Oh that is possible - very possible", he said. Availability of the long-awaited vaccine to wipe out Covid remains a sticking point. Fauci suggests 'high priority' people will be vaccinated between late-December through March, with the majority of the public to follow in the spring.
This is if all goes to plan, Fauci warns the possibility of anti-vaccers as a potential pitfall. Fauci's goal is to see between 75 to 85 percent of the U.S. population vaccinated. Adjustment of stadium capacity also depends on guidelines by county, city and state authorities. The recent revision of Santa Clara County that prevents college and professional teams from even playing serves as a stark reminder that the pandemic remains fluid.
A lot to digest, Dr. Fauci has taken a lot of heat this year for being the bearer of bad news. But at least the latest outlook is far better than when he had the Covid War not even 'out of the first quarter' earlier in 2020.