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Dr. Anthony Fauci says Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak could endanger MLB season

Dr. Anthony Fauci reacts after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for the Washington Nationals on July 23.
Dr. Anthony Fauci reacts after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before a game between the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals on July 23.
(Alex Brandon / Associated Press)

The Miami Marlins’ coronavirus outbreak could endanger the Major League Baseball season, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday, although he doesn’t believe games need to stop now.

More than a dozen Marlins players and staff members tested positive for the virus, stranding the team in Philadelphia and raising anew questions about MLB’s attempts to conduct a season.

“This could put it in danger,” said Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert. “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.”

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“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 said. “It’s very unfortunate what happened” with the Marlins.

Their outbreak continued to disrupt MLB’s schedule Tuesday, the sixth day of the pandemic-delayed season, with the Marlins’ home game against Baltimore postponed.

The game Monday between those teams was also called off, as was the Yankees’ series opener Monday at Philadelphia, where New York would have been in the same clubhouse the Marlins used last weekend.

“Obviously, we don’t want any player to get exposed. It’s not a positive thing,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said on the MLB Network. “But I don’t see it as a nightmare. ... We think we can keep people safe and continue to play.”

The Orioles, who made a trip to Miami without playing a game, are scheduled to host the Marlins in a two-game series starting Wednesday.

“If the testing results are acceptable, the Marlins will resume play in Baltimore on Wednesday against the Orioles,” Manfred said.

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Manfred said there were factors that would force MLB to alter plans.

“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,” he said. “Whether that was shutting down a part of the season, the whole season, that depends on the circumstances. 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.”


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