The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown everyday life in the US off-kilter.
Projections on when things will “return to normal” greatly vary.
Some believe we could see a return to relative normalcy by May or June. The White House task force said this week that the crisis could last until July or August. And then there is the more conservative view that the disruption could last a full year.
“I think this idea … that if you close schools and shut restaurants for a couple of weeks, you solve the problem and get back to normal life — that’s not what’s going to happen,” Adam Kucharski, an epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, told Vox.com this week. “The main message that isn’t getting across to a lot of people is just how long we might be in this for.”
COVID-19 greatly impacting US sports leagues
The NBA hopes to return to play “before July.” Major League Baseball is still hopeful it can hold its opening day in mid-May. And the NHL is also penciling in mid-May as a time that it could resume play.
These are all “best-case scenario” projections, however.
The greater likelihood is that great precautions will need to be taken deep into the summer months, meaning that the start of the NFL and college football seasons could be compromised.
No guarantee of a summertime fix
The annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, is currently scheduled for Aug. 6, 2020, between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys. The month of August will also feature NFL teams’ preseason slates.
The NFL won’t officially release its schedule until April, though it is presumed that the start date for the 2020 regular season will be Thursday, Sept. 10.
The 2020 college football season is still slated to start on Saturday, Aug. 29, with seven games, including Notre Dame versus Navy in Dublin, Ireland.
It’s anyone’s guess right now as to what kind of international travel restrictions will be in place at that time.
The good news
The good news for the NFL and college football — unlike the NBA, NHL and MLB — is that they have time on their side.
We are still over five months away from Labor Day.
Much more information on COVID-19 and how it spreads will be learned in the coming days, weeks and months.
Also, some sports leagues are re-emerging in Asia right now, which is giving a glimmer of hope to American leagues.
South Korea’s pro basketball league, the KBL, is set to resume play at the end of March. League play there had been suspended since late February.
The bad news
The 2020 football seasons could start with “no fan games” as large gatherings could very well still be frowned upon — or prohibited — at that time.
Kucharski believes that COVID-19 could be circulating for “potentially a year or two.” And if people are once again allowed to gather in large groups, it could “start new outbreaks” that threaten public health.