Health Experts Say Sports Won’t be Played in Front of Fans Until Fall 2021

At least one prominent public health expert does not believe sports will be played in front of fans until the fall of 2021. 

Speaking as part of a New York Times panel discussion about how to re-start America amid the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who advised the Obama administration on health policy and the Affordable Care Act, said he did not think large gatherings would be possible until after a vaccine is widely distributed in 12-18 months.

Emanuel, the older brother of former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel who now chairs the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, said the American economy would have to be opened up in stages, beginning with workplaces that can maintain more social distancing practices.

But he was less optimistic about playing football in big stadiums, for instance, as the NFL and colleges would like to do this fall if possible.

“Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility,” Emanuel told the Times. “I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically, we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”

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SOURCE: USA Today, Dan Wolken