After being stuck indoors for months due to Covid-19, many professional and amateur athletes are now returning to center field. But some are wondering if sports may be restarting too soon.

The National Basketball Association just announced that 16 of its players have tested positive for Covid-19. To date, 40 Major League Baseball players are known to be infected. Major League Soccer, which has had 24 players already test positive, is thinking of resuming its season next week. And it’s not just the players—staff are falling ill as well.

The problem with sports like football, baseball, soccer, and hockey is that their athletes are constantly too close for comfort. Every practice and every game, they’re face-to-face, sharing equipment, and almost always breathing heavily on each other. Social distancing is near impossible on the field, and equally challenging in locker rooms. In fact, the locker room is the definition of a Covid-19 hotspot: a damp, steamy indoor space in which contact with others is unavoidable.

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Originally published in Forbes (July 10, 2020)