Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, said on Sunday that he doesn’t foresee another lockdown coming in the US, despite the rapid spread of the COVID-19 delta variant.
The World Series of Poker is set to begin Sept. 30 at the Rio in Las Vegas and run until Nov. 23. A total of 88 gold bracelet events, including the $10,000 buy-in Main Event, which begins Nov. 4, are scheduled. Growing concerns in the poker community have some worried that COVID-19 could squash those plans.
Coronavirus cases in Nevada are up significantly since the Fourth of July weekend. The current seven-day average of new cases is above 1,000 per day, twice the figures from one month ago. More than 80% of all COVID-19 positive tests in Nevada over the past two weeks are of the delta variant, which is far more contagious and deadlier than the original coronavirus strain, according to medical experts such as Fauci.
Glimmer of hope
On ABC’s This Week show, Fauci told viewers that “things are going to get worse” for the country as the delta variant continues to spread despite half the US population being fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Even so, Fauci did share one bit of positive information with the public.
“I don’t think we’re going to see lockdowns,” Fauci said. “I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country – not enough to crush the outbreak – but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter.”
The “situation” he’s referring to was the state of public health in the US early in 2021 when daily COVID-19 cases exceeded 200,000 for weeks. As of July 31, the seven-day average is just over 78,000, which is still seven times the national average on July 1.
2021 WSOP still on
The state of Nevada reinstated its face mask mandate on Friday, the first of what many expect to be multiple COVID-19 restrictions on the horizon in the Silver State. But the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases appears confident one of those restrictions won’t be a lockdown.
For the 2021 WSOP and its players, especially those who have already booked a trip to Las Vegas, that’s some positive news in an otherwise negative news cycle. With just under two months until the start of the World Series of Poker, the threat of a lockdown could scare travelers away. And if the US is forced into lockdown mode in the fall, it would be impossible for a live WSOP to happen in any form. But, if Dr. Fauci is correct, poker players need not worry.
Still, the mask mandate is back, and it’s likely that additional non-lockdown COVID-19 measures could be put in place across Nevada. What, if any, impact future restrictions may have on the planned WSOP remains to be seen.