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The NFL and White House are paying the price for pretending the pandemic will just go away

Illustration for article titled The NFL and White House are paying the price for pretending the pandemic will just go away
Image: (Getty Images)

The past week has felt like a month, the past month has felt like a year, and the past six months have felt like a decade, so maybe it’s time for a refresher on what Dr. Anthony Fauci said a decade ago, back on March 26, in an Instagram Live interview with Stephen Curry:

“We can start thinking about getting back to some degree of normality when the country as a whole has turned that corner and (you see the curve) start coming down,” Fauci said. “Then you can pinpoint cases much more easily than getting overwhelmed by cases, which is what’s going on in New York City.”

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Has the country as a whole turned the corner on COVID-19? Uh, no. Very much not. There are now more than 208,000 Americans dead, more than seven million have been diagnosed with the virus, the president is in the hospital after making a mockery of the pandemic for months then finally catching it himself, and the overall caseload, while lower than it was in late July, still is more than four times worse than when Curry spoke to Fauci.

If we listened to Fauci, we would not yet even “start thinking about getting back to some degree of normality,” yet here we are, in Week 4 of an NFL season where…

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…and, now, finally…

  • Two games in Week 4 have been postponed because several Tennessee Titans players and staffers, as well as Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, got the coronavirus.

So long as the virus isn’t contained, there’s a risk of people catching it, even if they’re not being as brutally reckless as the complete numbskulls who decided to have a big Supreme Court nomination party in the Rose Garden with chairs packed tightly together, then went inside the White House for a reception where people weren’t wearing masks. Even if you’re wearing a mask, even if you’re socially distancing, even if you’re doing everything “right,” there’s still going to be risk — taking precautions lessens that risk, but does not eliminate it.

The NBA has been able to get to the end of its season because they went into a bubble and held firm to strict protocols, even expelling Danuel House of the Rockets. The NHL went to Canada, which has done a much better job of handling the pandemic because Donald Trump doesn’t run their country, and made it work with two “hub cities.”

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Baseball went to a shortened, geographically-based schedule, but did a lot of traveling and even played through toxic air as a result of wildfires. The result was — surprise! — a bunch of teams dealing with coronavirus outbreaks. Not that it’s stopping MLB from selling World Series tickets in Texas, because MLB is run by capitalists who don’t mind compromising their own playoff “bubble” in the name of a few dollars, and Texas is run by morons.

The NFL is playing its full schedule, allowing fans at games where local authorities are so blunderously Trumpy as to allow it, and seeing Jerry Jones take off his mask to celebrate a big Cowboys win, which entirely defeats the purpose of the mask in the first place.

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Now that the virus has come to pro football just as it did to baseball, what’s the response? The league first said that it would move Titans-Steelers to Monday or Tuesday, before more infections in Tennessee made that plan impossible and the game was pushed to Week 7.

Having gone through that this week, the news of Newton’s positive test prompted the league to… postpone the Patriots-Kansas City game to Monday or Tuesday. What’s the definition of insanity, again? Oh yes, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

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This isn’t going to get any better anytime soon, is it?

Sorry to all the other Jesse Spectors for ruining your Google results.

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