Super Bowl parties aren’t worth the risk

Published 2:09 pm Friday, February 5, 2021

Today is Super Bowl Sunday.
Super Bowl Sunday brings together things that many of us love: football, food, drinks, friends and camaraderie.
The Super Bowl is unlike any other American sporting event: It the anchor for parties, fanfare, and an eye-popping TV broadcast where the commercials and halftime show are just as much of an attraction for the more than 100 million fans who will watch.
Today’s game pits the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Kansas City Chiefs.
While the football being played on Sunday will look largely the same as in other years, nearly everything else surrounding the Super Bowl will be different.
Because of COVID-19, fewer fans will attend this year’s Super Bowl — only 25,000 fans. The league has given 7,500 tickets to vaccinated health care workers. Another 14,500 seats will be sold to fans who won’t be required to be inoculated or tested before entering the stadium, and another 2,700 fans will sit in luxury boxes. Every fan attending the game will receive a kit that includes personal protective equipment, including a KN95 mask and hand sanitizer.
Unfortunately, for many fans who look forward to Super Bowl Sunday, this year’s game and its corresponding festivities could bring something more sinister to the party: COVID-19.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has consistently warned against hosting large, indoor gatherings with people you don’t live with. This past holiday season, the agency asked people to avoid such gatherings during Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve/Day. Many people disregarded those pleas from the CDC and other public health officials, and COVID-19 cases spiked across the country.
Although vaccinations are being administered here in Northeast Tennessee and across the country, and the January spike is showing a small glimmer of a slowdown, we must remain vigilant. We need to be safe rather than sorry for this year’s Super Bowl.
The CDC recommends taking these four steps for “the most protection” from COVD-19:
• Wear masks.
• Stay 6 feet apart.
• Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated places.
• Wash your hands.
According to the CDC, “People who are physically near (within 6 feet) a person with COVID-19 or have direct contact with that person are at greatest risk of infection.”
Think about a Super Bowl party with 10 to 12 friends, all huddled close together indoors, and you can see how such events could potentially spread COVID-19. This year, put those large Super Bowl parties on hold. They simply aren’t worth the risk.
By continuing to wear masks, keeping our distance, practicing good hand hygiene and getting vaccinated, we can ensure that the Super Bowl parties in 2022 can safely happen.
All it takes is one gathering, one chance event to set us back. Is it worth the risk?

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