Dr. Anthony Fauci believes that the MLB season could be in trouble after there was a coronavirus outbreak within the Miami Marlins organization.
“This could put it in danger,” Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said. “I don’t believe they need to stop, but we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day-by-day basis.”
Fauci made his comments on ABC’s “Good Morning America” before the news of the Marlins’ latest test results.
“Major League Baseball — the players, the owners, the managers — have put a lot of effort into getting together and putting protocols that we feel would work,” Fauci added. “It’s very unfortunate what happened with the Miami (Marlins).”
Sportsgrid’s Craig Mish first reported that the Marlins games were going to temporarily be on hold. Major League Baseball also released a statement on the issue.
The league announced that Marlins games would be postponed through Sunday. MLB also said that games between the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees would be postponed as well. The Yankees would start a home-and-home series on Wednesday against the Baltimore Orioles.
“The health and safety protocols were designed with a challenging circumstance like the one facing the Marlins in mind. The response outlined in the joint MLB-MLBPA Operations Manual was triggered immediately upon learning of the cluster of positive cases, including contact tracing and the quarantining and testing of all of the identified close contacts. The Marlins’ personnel who tested positive remain in isolation and are receiving care,” MLB said in a statement.
“In over 6,400 tests conducted since Friday, July 24th, there have been no new positives of on-field personnel from any of the other 29 Clubs. This outcome is in line with encouraging overall data since the June 27th start of testing. Through last Thursday, July 23rd, 99 of the 32,640 samples – 0.3% – had been positive.”
“The difficult circumstances of one Club reinforce the vital need to be diligent with the protocols in all ways, both on and off the field. We will continue to bolster our protocols and make any necessary adjustments. The realities of the virus still loom large, and we must operate with that in mind every day. We are confident that Clubs and players will act appropriately, for themselves and for others, and the data provides reason to believe that the protocols can work effectively.”
At least four Marlins players tested positive for the coronavirus prior to Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Marlins and Phillies played anyway but the positive tests at that time were just the tip of the iceberg.
On Monday, several additional players reportedly tested positive. The Marlins were forced to postpone games between the Baltimore Orioles because of it. The Phillies’ series against the New York Yankees was also placed on hold.
On Tuesday, The Athletic reported that four more players tested positive, bringing the total number to 17 positive cases.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred addressed the situation on MLB Network on Monday.
“I don’t put this in the nightmare category,” he said. “We don’t want any player to get exposed. It’s not a positive thing, but I don’t see it as a nightmare.”
He continued: “We built the protocols to allow us to continue to play. That’s why we have the expanded rosters. That’s why we have the expanded pools of additional players. We think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”
The growing number of cases could signal trouble for the Marlins, an issue Manfred said would have to be addressed when it actually happens.
“A team losing a number of players that rendered it completely non-competitive would be an issue that we would have to address and have to think about making a change — whether that was shutting down the part of a season, the whole season, that depends on the circumstances,” he said.
He continued, “The same thing with respect to league-wide. You get to a certain point league-wide where it does become a health threat and we certainly would shut down at that point.”
So far, MLB owners reportedly have not discussed canceling the entire season.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.