Toward the end of a 20-minute telephone interview Saturday evening with America’s COVID-19 expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, I asked a question about testing, and about NFL teams playing football this fall.

“Suppose,” I asked, “you test a team of 53 players on a Saturday night and four are positive. Is there a level at which—”

Fauci, the director of the National Institutes for Health since 1984, interrupted. “You got a problem there,” he said. “You know why? Because it is likely that if four of them are positive and they’ve been hanging around together, that the other ones that are negative are really positive. So I mean, if you have one outlier [only one player testing positive], I think you might get away. But once you wind up having a situation where it looks like it’s spread within a team, you got a real problem. You gotta shut it down.”

Shut it down. Quarantine the team, he means. For 14 days. The next two games for that team? Cancelled or postponed. That could be life in the NFL in 2020.

“Also,” I said, “I take it that teams have to be willing to say, If Patrick Mahomes tests positive on a Saturday night, he’s got to disappear for two weeks.”

“Absolutely, absolutely,” Fauci said. “It would be malpractice in medicine to put him on the field, absolutely.”

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