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As the sports world comes to grips with their new normal of empty stadiums, a CDC suggestion could sideline the return of games well into the summer as the group has recommended that all events with 50 or more people are canceled for the next eight weeks.
“Large events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 in the United States via travelers who attend these events and introduce the virus to new communities,” the CDC said in a statement.
The statement specifically mentioned conferences, festivals, parades, and sporting events as gatherings that would violate the CDC suggestion.
With the NBA, NHL, and MLB all under suspensions of their regular seasons, the news from the CDC puts a start date into May at the earliest, although many franchise owners behind the scenes are admitting that a return to sports isn’t on the horizon anytime soon.
Check out our “Coronovirus Canceled Sports Events” page where we keep you updated with the latest news around the coronavirus and canceled sports events.
With the CDC’s announcement, Major League Baseball pushed back their opening day even further and the Kentucky Derby won’t be run on the first Saturday in May as leaders pushed the date to September.
Major League Baseball’s decision to move the start of the season to mid-May came directly after the CDC’s statement. Commissioner Rob Manfred told leaders of all 30 teams Monday morning of the league’s postponement.
With the uncertainty wrapped around the coronavirus pandemic, MLB is as clueless as the NBA and NHL as to when their leagues can get back to the business of playing games.
The postponement of Opening Day for the first time since 1995, came on the heels of the cancellation of spring training late last week and the decision by clubs to send players home after a New York Yankees minor leaguer tested positive for the virus.
For the Kentucky Derby, the decision to push the date of the race to September moved the annual race off the first day of May for the first time since 1945. The race pumps more than $400 million in revenue to the Louisville area but it is possible that the Derby will be held without spectators if the CDC recommendation becomes permanent until the end of the coronavirus.
Until the spread of the virus in the United States is suppressed, it is difficult to see the four major sports leagues returning to action. Some estimates believe that with a peak of the virus in mid-summer, due to social distancing and other precautionary measures, that sports could return without fans around late July and early August, although that remains to be seen.
The NFL started their offseason on Monday with the beginning of free agency and continue to plan to hold their annual draft in Las Vegas in late April, although minus the crowd they had originally planned to accommodate.
But until government regulatory bodies such as the Center for Disease Control understand the depths of the spread of the virus and the fallout among citizens, sports in America is only hypothetical at this point in time.
The MLB could conceivably play a 120-game regular season if they begin by the middle of May.
As it stands, there are 182,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus around the world. In America, there are over 4,400 cases with at minimum of 86 fatalities.
Until the United States slows the surge of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the four major sports leagues will not be playing games.
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