Super Bowl parties could turn into ‘mini superspreader events,’ said health officials, who have warned fans not to gather indoors

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee hearing on June 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. Top federal health officials discussed efforts for safely getting back to work and school during the coronavirus pandemic. Al Drago – Pool/Getty Images

As Americans prepared for Super Bowl Sunday, health officials warned fans not to gather indoors, an attempt to stop the event from becoming a national superspreader.

“And this Sunday, remember: Whichever team you’re rooting for and whichever commercial is your favourite, please watch the Super Bowl safely, gathering only virtually or with the people you live with,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, at a White House briefing.

Super Bowl LV, between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is scheduled to begin at 6.30 p.m. on Sunday in Florida.


Read more: 3 Tampa businesses helping to pull off a safe and successful Super Bowl — and profiting off the event

On its website, the CDC published a gameday safety guide, saying it would be best to host friends outdoors, if people must have them over at all.

As of Saturday afternoon, the US had 459,571 confirmed deaths from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. The US has had 26.8 million confirmed cases, more than double the second-highest country, India, where 10.8 million cases have been logged.

Even small Super Bowl watch parties could turn into superspreader events, if viewers are in unventilated rooms, the CDC guide warned.

In several TV interviews last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease official at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, asked football fans to watch the game with people they live with.

Speaking on MSNBC on Friday, Fauci said he also liked to have big Super Bowl parties in the past, but won’t be inviting anyone from his neighbourhood over this year.

“If you don’t know what the status of a person is — vis-à -vis whether they’re infected or not — you’re really putting yourself and your family in danger,” he said. “So, enjoy the Super Bowl, but don’t do it with a large group of people in your house.”

Having friends over to watch the game was the “perfect setup to have a mini superspreader event in your own house,” Fauci said.

In colder regions, having a party where you can’t open the windows could spread the coronavirus, he said.

On ABC’s Good Morning America, Fauci asked fans to “just lay low and cool it.”

In Tampa, at the Raymond James Stadium, about 22,000 fans were set to watch the game at the stadium. Local businesses said they were gearing up for visitors, even if there will be fewer fans than at a regular Super Bowl. Ticket prices peaked last week at more than $US35,000 per seat, and airlines added Kansas City-to-Tampa routes with one-way fares that climbed to more than $US700.

This year’s game marks the first time the game will be streamed in 4K resolution.