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NFL’s Dr. Allen Sills responds to Dr. Fauci’s comments about needing a ‘bubble’ format

Sills said the NFL is currently developing a comprehensive and rapid-result testing program


On Thursday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci said football needs a “bubble format” to play in 2020. Fauci said teams would need to emulate plans by the NBA and MLS for a bubble format or consider not playing in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fauci noted that football players would need to be isolated from others and tested regularly:

“Unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall,” Fauci said. “If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.”

The NFL has not only maintained that the regular season will start on time, but ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted that multiple league executives are bracing for training camp beginning on-time—players likely wouldn’t go for the earlier date—but believe the “ramp-up period” of conditioning and football activities could replace first one or two preseason games. Quarantining between testing and practicing has been discussed as well, per Fowler.

Dr. Allen Sills, who is the NFL’s chief medical officer, responded to Dr. Fauci’s comments, saying that it would be difficult to have a season if players aren’t isolated in a bubble:

It’s hard to imagine the “comprehensive testing program” will be enough to prevent players from testing positive for COVID. The NFL seems intent on not losing revenue, and that’s why we aren’t seeing the significant dates like the start of the season and training camp being pushed back further.

Coronavirus cases, as of Thursday morning, continue to surge across the United States, specifically in Florida, California, and Arizona. I’ve seen plenty of takes where the recent spikes have been due to the protests in major cities, but those cities have declining numbers.