• Sports fans aren’t going to like White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci’s latest coronavirus update.
  • According to Dr. Fauci, because of the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in the US, expect the current reality that includes things like face mask mandates and limited capacity for sports games to continue to be the status quo in the US through probably late 2021.
  • That’s even with the arrival of an effective vaccine early next year, by the way.

Earlier this year, about a month or two into the coronavirus outbreak, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci was already speculating about what’s going to happen to sports in the US — and, particularly, to games and the fans who attend them. As early as April, Fauci was already thinking ahead to the possibility of heavy, aggressive, and repeated testing of players, while fans are kept away from stadiums and arenas.

In other words, sports come back — but fans don’t.

In one of his newest coronavirus updates, meanwhile, Dr. Fauci has provided a more current sports-related forecast about what we can expect for the near- and medium-term. And, unfortunately, sports fans probably aren’t going to like this at all.

It surely hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention that we’re still at a dangerous point in the coronavirus pandemic, with the winter months expected to represent the nadir of the crisis so far. Indeed, the US on Wednesday endured its worst day so far during the pandemic, with a record 102,831 new coronavirus cases reported yesterday, according to Johns Hopkins University. And increased testing does not account for that increase.

New cases over the past week are up 21%, according to the researchers at Johns Hopkins. However, the Covid Tracking Project reports that testing in the US is only up 4.52% over the past week.

This is why it should come as no surprise that Dr. Fauci thinks the reality of sporting events allowing fans to only watch on-site in a limited capacity is going to be the norm for, easily, another year at least. Per Sports Business Daily, Dr. Fauci said that “mask wearing will continue well into the third or fourth quarter of 2021” even if a “really good vaccine” is developed. That scenario, he continued, is still going to be mean only “graded, gradual progression toward normality.”

“Ultimately, when we get this under control — not only at the domestic, but (at) the global level — we will start to approach what we call normal,” Dr. Fauci said. “I don’t think . . . that it’s going to be at a level where people are going to feel like there are no public-health measures to be implemented until we get to the end of 2021 — at least.”

In the clip above from earlier this year, during an appearance on the Snapchat original documentary series about US politics called Good Luck America, Fauci lays out some possible ways to keep sports humming along in the interim between now and the arrival of a vaccine. Again, the bottom line from the doctor is that things are going to stay this way for a while.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.