How safe is fall football in the eyes of medical experts? One infectious disease doctor compared those holding out hope to passengers on the Titanic waiting for the band to start playing as the ship sank.
This morning, NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline and other doctors held a conference call with reporters about COVID-19, during which Carlos del Rio, a Distinguished Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine, said the country needs to be focused on controlling the pandemic, not sports.
"We need to focus on what’s important. What’s important is we should control this virus. Not having fall sports this year in controlling this virus should be the No. 1 priority for me."
— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) August 13, 2020
Oof. Dr. Colleen Craft, the associate chief medical officer at Emory Hospital, said schools are “playing with fire” by trying to have fall sports, focusing specifically on myocarditis, a heart condition that can develop in those who have had the virus. The Big Ten cited myocarditis as a primary reason they are pushing football to the spring after at least 15 players in the conference were found to have it.
Craft: "One case of myocarditis in an athlete is too many. People don’t see 1% as individual faces. I don’t want to see stories of athletes who can no longer play and had promising careers but simply because somebody else didn’t protect themselves. It's not a punitive thing."
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) August 13, 2020
So, can anything be done to make college sports safe? Hainline floated the idea of sending students home in November and creating bubbles for athletes on campus. Of course, a vaccine would help too. Until then, all of the doctors advised people to wear masks.
Carlos Del Rio, fellow, Infectious Diseases Society of America, says if states do things like shut down bars, if people wear masks, a state like Georgia — which currently has 30 cases per 100,000 people — could get that number down to 10/100K in about 8 to 12 weeks.
— Jon Blau (@Jon_Blau) August 13, 2020