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The MLB is aiming to tentatively start their season July 10 at the latest

June 17, 2020 10:14 AM
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Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci
| Credit: Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

Dr. Anthony Fauci is recommending a safe Major League Baseball season take place within the summer months only out of concern for the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview, published Tuesday, that he would advise the MLB to wrap its entire season by the end of September to avoid risks involved in a potential second wave of COVID-19.

"If the question is time, I would try to keep it in the core summer months and end it not with the way we play the World Series, until the end of October when it’s cold,” Fauci, 79, said. “I would avoid that.”

With the MLB aiming to start their season next month, many of the players have proposed playing through November. MLB owners, however, have expressed similar concerns to Fauci's about playing in the fall.

Chase Field
Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

“Even in warm weather, like in Arizona and California, we’re starting to see resurgences as we open up,” Fauci said. “But I think the chances of there being less of an issue in the end of July and all of August and September are much, much better than if you go into October."

“The likelihood is that, if you stick to the core summer months, you are better off, even though there is no guarantee," he added. "If you look at the kinds of things that could happen, there’s no guarantee of anything. You would want to do it at a time when there isn’t the overlap between influenza and the possibility of a fall second wave.”

Fauci also recommended that the MLB wait until the infectious rate vastly declines, if not to zero, so games can have limited capacity, as opposed to no fans at all.

"Unless you have a dramatic diminution in cases,” he said, “I would feel comfortable in spaced seating, where you fill one-half or one-third or whatever it is of the stadium, and everybody is required to wear a mask in the stadium.”

Game 2 of the ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros
Fans waving rally towels prior to Game 2 of the ALCS between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park
| Credit: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos/Getty

The MLB has been on hiatus since March, when the league postponed spring training — which, in turn, delayed the start of the season — just days after the NBA and NHL called off their events.

Last week, the MLB hosted a two-night virtual draft, just as the NFL did back in April, and according to ESPN, have set July 10 as the latest tentative start date for the 2020 season.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.