Dr. Anthony Fauci says whether or not the college football and NFL seasons play this fall is “impossible to call” at this time, and he told Sports Illustrated’s “Jets Country” that the status of the coronavirus pandemic when the season is expected to kick-off will be the determining factor.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has been the face of the government’s handling of the coronavirus. He recently told CNN that “it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall if players weren’t quarantined or put in a bubble.”

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“The situation this fall will be dictated by the dynamics of the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States,” Fauci told the sports website. “Optimally you would want to see the level of infection dramatically decreased and good control of any evidence of resurgence. Again, the officials of the league in consultation with the players will make their own decisions.”

Fauci said that his original statements about the NFL season have been misinterpreted and taken out of context.

“I was asked by officials from the NFL about risks associated with various scenarios that the NFL might face in consideration of the upcoming season,” Fauci said. “I provided advice from a public health standpoint. The ultimate decision is not mine but that of the officials of the NFL and the players themselves.”

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Fauci said it isn’t ultimately his decision on whether leagues should open up, but when he offers his advice he points to the data as being the ultimate source for his opinions.

“I merely provide advice based on data and science,” Fauci said. “I certainly do not make the call on whether a league can or cannot return.”

As of Monday, there are over 2 million reported cases of the coronavirus, and 119,923 reported deaths. Several states, including Florida, Arizona and Texas, have seen a spike in cases.

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