Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that it’s too soon to head back to sports stadiums, which have been packed with fans not wearing masks as the Delta variant spreads — despite vaccinations showing strong protection against serious infection.
“I don’t think it’s smart,” the White House chief medical adviser told CNN earlier this week.
“Outdoors is always better than indoors, but even when you have such a congregate setting of people close together,” Fauci added.
Fans are flocking to the arenas even as about 136,000 new cases are recorded daily across the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest 7-day average.
However, the vast majority of Americans who are getting serious cases of COVID-19 or dying are unvaccinated, statistics show.
Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 30, about 99 percent of hospital admissions were among those who hadn’t been fully inoculated, which is defined by the CDC as two weeks after the second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose jab.
Fauci’s comments came just before the much-anticipated 2021 football season kicked off Thursday.
Peter O’Reilly, the league’s executive vice president of club business and events, said he doesn’t expect any slump in capacity this season — and insists it is safe to attend the games.
“We and our clubs are in daily and regular conversations with local and state authorities, but as we sit here right now, we don’t anticipate any reduction in capacity this year,” O’Reilly said in the league’s last briefing.
“We really feel good about where we stand, given the vaccination rates across the country, and feel as though we will be able to move through the season,” he continued.
“Obviously, we don’t take anything for granted. We work closely on all of our protocols, working with and under the guidance of those state and local authorities.
“As we sit here today, all 30 stadiums are able to be at full capacity and that’s how we expect to go through the season in lockstep with those local and state authorities.”
College football’s first full weekend also included some stadiums filled to capacity.
“While people are still getting sick, people aren’t dying at the same rate, according to the statistics. That’s the key,” Dr. Rand McLain, chief medical officer of Live Cell Research Health, told The Associated Press.
“You go back to where it started, hospitals were loading up and an inordinate amount of people were dying,” he said.
“We’re past that now at least at this time, though we have the Delta variant and the Mu variant beating the vaccines. From there, being outside is a huge plus. You’re not seeing the transmission when there’s a breeze blowing.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all Americans — even those fully vaccinated — wear masks outside if they are in a crowded space and are unable to practice social distancing.
Dr. Iahn Gonsenhauser, chief quality and patient safety officer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, concurred with the top infectious diseases doc.
“If you want to minimize your risk as much as you can, going to a sporting event is not the right choice,” he told CNBC.
With Post wires