- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2020

As the NFL had grappled with the coronavirus, most teams in recent weeks have scaled back plans to have fans in stadiums. The Washington Football Team, for instance, planned on having 3,000 fans for its Nov. 22 game against the Cincinnati Bengals before changing course due to the surging number of cases.

But according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the NFL might not have empty stadiums much longer.

In an interview with Yahoo Sports, Fauci said he thinks the league could have full stadiums by next September. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said full capacity at stadiums will be among “the last thing(s) you’re going to see,” but could return as coronavirus vaccines are distributed.

Oh, that’s possible,” Fauci said when asked about the NFL having full stadiums in September. “I think that’s possible.”

Fauci also weighed in on whether the NBA could have fans for next season, which starts Dec. 22. 

We’re gonna be vaccinating the highest-priority people [from] the end of December through January, February, March,” Fauci told Yahoo Sports. “By the time you get to the general public, the people who’ll be going to the basketball games, who don’t have any underlying conditions, that’s gonna be starting the end of April, May, June.

So it probably will be well into the end of the summer before you can really feel comfortable [with full sports stadiums] – if a lot of people get vaccinated. I don’t think we’re going to be that normal in July. I think it probably would be by the end of the summer.”

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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