Most people have gotten to know Dr. Anthony Fauci through his role on the White House coronavirus task force, where he presents an authoritative voice on the nation’s fight to contain COVID-19.

But Fauci also is a lifelong baseball fan and manages to sneak away from his job as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to Nationals Park to watch 10 to 12 Washington Nationals games every summer.

Amid the talk of plateauing coronavirus cases and decisions by some Southern governors to begin reopening their states, Fauci was interviewed on the YES Network Monday night and offered a sobering reality check to those who think it’s only a matter of time before they’re downing beers or munching on hot dogs at the ballpark.

“I would feel that there would have to be a completion of the multiple phases of the reentering into some level of normality,” Fauci told YES Network host Jack Curry. “And even when you get to phase three, it still requires a degree of physical separation.”

“I’d have to be in a city where the level of infection is so low, that if someone gets infected, that … health department has the capability of identifying, isolating, and contact tracing so that person does not inadvertently infect someone else,” Fauci added. “Even with that, I cannot see a return this year to what we consider ‘normal.’ “

Fauci said that doesn’t mean baseball can’t return to play a truncated season. But even with the most-optimistic coronavirus projections, he said he thinks it would require severely limiting the number of fans in the stands, spreading out seating, and probably forcing spectators to wear masks or other facial coverings.

“I think quite likely, although it’s always dangerous to predict, I think it’s more likely that you’re going to have more of a television baseball than a spectator baseball,” Fauci said.

Watch the full interview here:

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