Dr. Jeffrey Smith, who is the executive officer for Santa Clara County (California), told the county's Board of Supervisors that he doesn't foresee "any sports games until at least Thanksgiving" and that "we'd be lucky to have them by Thanksgiving."
Per Rong-Gong Lin II of the Los Angeles Times, Smith's remarks came in the midst of cautioning that lifting California's stay-at-home order too soon could bring significant consequences.
"There will definitely be individuals who will get sick. And because there are individuals who get sick, there will be individuals who die after the order is released, unless we come up with a foolproof immunization, which is highly unlikely," Smith said.
Dr. Sara Cody, who is a public health officer, also spoke with the board and said four things must be in place for stay-at-home orders to be loosened: sufficient hospital space for patients and a sufficient and appropriate amount of medical equipment for healthcare workers; widespread COVID-19 testing; constructing a mechanism to investigate, isolate and track new cases; and a continued reduction in new cases.
The news from Smith comes days after Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that COVID-19 may not be completely gone by the end of 2020 and that it may become a seasonal illness, per the Associated Press.
Dr. Fauci also said in early March that a vaccine could be 12-18 months away, per Stephanie Soucheray of CIDRAP News.
The news comes in the midst of sports leagues trying to figure out next steps. With so much unknown, it's unclear when organizations will start up again.
ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that Major League Baseball was tossing around an idea to house all 30 teams in the Phoenix area, sequester them in hotels and have them play in spring training ballparks beginning in May.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told Turner Sports' Ernie Johnson (h/t Mark Medina of USA Today) that he doesn't anticipate the league making a decision on the future of its 2019-20 season before May.
And NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman told NBC Sports (h/t ESPN's Greg Wyshynski) that finishing the regular season may not be possible while also noting that "it doesn't even pay to speculate."
The NBA was the first worldwide major sports organization to suspend operations after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on March 11. Other leagues followed suit shortly thereafter.