Jack Gruber-USA TODAY

Jack Gruber-USA TODAY

NFL’s Dr. Allen Sills responds to Dr. Fauci’s skepticism that football ‘may not happen’ in 2020

Jun 18, 2020 at 10:19 AM--

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, expressed skepticism this week during an interview on CNN that the 2020 NFL season will go on as planned. There are so many unknowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which increasingly looks like it won't be anywhere close to diminished by the time the regular season kicks off in September.

"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," Dr. Fauci said (via NBC Sports Bay Area). "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's chief medical officer, Dr. Allen Sills, responded on Thursday, stating that the league plans to take precautions during its efforts to push forward with the season amid such uncertain times.

Dr. Sills said the following (via Tom Pelissero of NFL Network):

"Dr. Fauci has identified the important health and safety issues we and the NFL Players Association, together with our joint medical advisors, are addressing to mitigate the health risk to players, coaches and other essential personnel. We are developing a comprehensive and rapid-result testing program and rigorous protocols that call for a shared responsibility from everyone inside our football ecosystem. This is based on the collective guidance of public health officials, including the White House task force, the CDC, infectious disease experts, and other sports leagues.

"Make no mistake, this is no easy task. We will make adjustments as necessary to meet the public health environment as we prepare to play the 2020 season as scheduled with increased protocols and safety measures for all players, personnel and attendees. We will be flexible and adaptable in this environment to adjust to the virus as needed. "

San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York recently told NBC Sports Bay Area that, one way or another, he expects the season to move forward.

"There will be a season in some way, shape, or form," York told Jennifer Lee Chan last week. "After seeing the progress of reopening, I am confident in that."

York added that the 49ers are doing everything they can to prepare as if the season will happen.

"Our medical staff has done an incredible job planning protocols and procedures for when we start up again," York said. "I know our players and staff are ready and excited to get things rolling."

The NFL seems confident that not only the regular season will take place, but that training camps will happen too. The league announced on Thursday that the HBO series Hard Knocks will have an interesting twist this year, following two teams — the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers.

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