CDC chief urges fans to watch Super Bowl virtually or with household

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The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging football fans to watch the Super Bowl virtually this year or with members of their household amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“[G]athering virtually or with the people you live with is the safest way to root for your team and watch the latest commercials,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky tweeted this week.

“If you choose to attend [the game] or a large watching event, stay as safe as possible,” she added.

The plea from Walensky echoes similar comments from Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious diseases expert, who on Wednesday warned people to only gather to watch the Super Bowl at home with people within their immediate household.

“Enjoy the game, watch it on television, but do it with the immediate members of your family, the people in your household,” Fauci said. “As much fun as it is to get together in a big Super Bowl party, now is not the time to do that.”

The CDC also issued guidance last week for anyone who may be attending the game this year, including encouraging fans to arrive early to avoid crowded areas, avoid using restroom facilities or concession areas at high-traffic times such as half time, and refrain from chanting or cheering.

“Stomp, clap, or bring hand-held noisemakers instead,” the agency said in the guidance.

The CDC emphasized that, “Attending large gatherings like the Super Bowl increases your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19,” and “The safest way to watch the Super Bowl this year is at home with people you live with.” 

The NFL announced recently that 22,000 fans will be allowed into Raymond James Stadium for the game, including 7,500 vaccinated health care workers the league plans to send to the game for free. 

Raymond James Stadium can seat nearly 66,000 people. 

The city of Tampa has ramped up public health measures ahead of the event, with Mayor Jane Castor (D) implementing a new order mandating that people in downtown Tampa’s “Entertainment District” and in the “Event Zone” near the stadium wear a face covering at all times. Certain exceptions apply, like for children under the age of 5.

The new mask mandate in Tampa is in effect through Feb. 13 and comes with a $500 fine for noncompliance. 

Tags Anthony Fauci CDC guidance National Football League Rochelle Walensky Super Bowl Tampa, Florida
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