Obamacare architect warns sporting events, concerts won’t return until 2021
April 13, 2020
Amid growing concern surrounding the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, a prominent healthcare expert warned that large gatherings should not resume until 2021.
Speaking at a roundtable discussion hosted by The New York Times, Dr. Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel, who is credited as a key architect for ObamaCare, described event organizers’ attempts to reschedule summer dates as unrealistic.
“Larger gatherings — conferences, concerts, sporting events — when people say they’re going to reschedule this conference or graduation event for October 2020, I have no idea how they think that’s a plausible possibility,” said Emanuel, who currently serves as a senior fellow at the Care for American Progress. “I think those things will be the last to return. Realistically, we’re talking fall 2021 at the earliest.”
Many festivals, including Burning Man and Glastonbury, elected to cancel their events as legislators enact drastic measures to stunt the transmission of COVID-19. Other events–such as the iHeartRadio Awards–are indefinitely postponed.
The National Hockey League (NHL), Major League Baseball (MLB) and National Basketball Association’s (NBA) regular seasons are each on indefinite hiatus as each league explores resuming play at closed sites in hopes of salvaging their seasons. Organizers for the 2020 Summer Olympics scheduled to take place in Tokyo postponed the event until July of 2020.
Emanuel, whose brother Rahm served as Chicago mayor from 2011 to 2019, echoed the sentiments of Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who last Tuesday recommended that event organizers cancel large public gatherings scheduled to take place this summer.
Speaking at his daily coronavirus briefing, Pritzker expressed his belief that large events, such as festivals and concerts, pose a risk to a state expected to hit its peak in coronavirus cases in mid-to-late April.
“From my perspective today, I don’t see how we’re going to have large gatherings of people again until we have a vaccine, which is months and months away,” said Pritzker. “I would not risk having large groups of people getting together anywhere. And I think that’s hard for everybody to hear, but that’s just a fact.”
Pritzker’s declaration places Riot Fest (Sept. 11-13), Lollapalooza (July 31-Aug. 2) and Pitchfork (July 17-19) in jeopardy. The announcement also casts doubt on baseball returning to Chicago this summer.
As of April 13, there have been 1,918,651 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, resulting in 119,201 casualties. On Monday, the United States reported its 583,870th case, surpassing the combined totals of Italy, Spain, France and China. Of the 59,240 closed cases in the U.S., 23,485– or 39.6%–resulted in death.