Fauci warns against attending Super Bowl parties amid pandemic: ‘Now is not the time to do that’

The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, urged Americans to stay safe and avoid large parties, which could turn into super-spreader events, as Super Bowl Sunday approaches.

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In an appearance Wednesday morning on NBC’s “Today” show, Fauci compared the upcoming Super Bowl to holidays like Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

“Every time we do have something like this, there is always a spike” in COVID-19 cases, he said.

To mitigate the risk, he suggested people watch the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their homes on Sunday and avoid attending Super Bowl parties.

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

The recommendation comes as the U.S. sees a drop in COVID-19 cases. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday that the number of cases reported nationwide has dropped to levels seen before the Thanksgiving spike. However, she said case reports remained higher than they were at the peak last summer.

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At a news conference Wednesday, she echoed Fauci’s comments.

“This Sunday, remember: Whichever team you’re rooting for and whichever commercial is your favorite, please watch the Super Bowl safely, gathering only virtually or with the people you live with,” she said, pointing to newly released CDC guidelines on watching the Super Bowl safely.

Last week, Mayor Jane Castor of Tampa, Florida, issued an executive order requiring the use of face masks outdoors in several areas of the city ahead of Super Bowl LV. The order, which went into effect on Thursday, is scheduled to last through at least Feb. 13.

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The U.S. continues to lead the world in COVID-19 cases with more than 26.4 million reported nationwide as of Wednesday, resulting in over 447,000 deaths, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University. More than 104 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported globally, resulting in over 2.2 million deaths.