One of America’s most annually anticipated events, the Super Bowl, is going to look a bit different this year. While it is traditionally a time spent with friends, enjoying the sports, the food, or the ads, due to COVID-19, we shouldn’t act too hastily.
Recently, cases have been on a steady decline, with vaccines rolling out and slowly being distributed. As a result, many states have lifted stay-at-home orders and are taking steps towards normalcy. However, while small gatherings are no longer against the law, it is important to stay cautious. Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack states, “When people get together in private residences in close proximity, that is one of the single most effective ways to spread the disease.” As we have passed the most dangerous month of the pandemic, contributing to a whopping 20% of total coronavirus deaths, we should be warned and refrain from repeating past mistakes.
A newly discovered B.1.1.7 strain of the virus, first detected in the United Kingdom, poses an even greater threat to our recent progress. It has made its way to the U.S. and research shows that it is doubling every 10 days. The B.1.1.7 variant is predicted to make up the majority of cases by March and is 50% more contagious than before. While the Biden administration is completing 1.3 million vaccine doses a day and pushing to quicken distribution to avoid these results, it will be ineffective if gatherings are not held safely.
Fortunately, Super Bowl parties aren’t expected to cause a deadly influx like December and January did. However, many health officials recommend that viewing should be limited to each household to avoid further risks. Super Bowl viewers in Tampa, Florida are expected to reach over 20,000 and pose additional concerns. Dr. Bergstrom, a biology professor at the University of Washington advises, “My sense is that it’s a really great year to watch it at home with your family, and not go to Super Bowl parties that you usually would, because we’re just starting to get this under control in this country.”
While it is disappointing that this year’s Super Bowl is unable to reach its full potential, the game can still be enjoyed with close family or those in your household. If we all remain cautious and aware of the circumstances, we are not only saving lives but ensuring that next year’s Super Bowl can return to normal!