CDC recommends keeping Super Bowl parties small to avoid COVID spread

As the number of daily deaths from coronavirus remains stubbornly high at more than 3,000 a day, despite falling infections, the CDC has recommended small gatherings only for watching the Super Bowl this Sunday.

Coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed 450,000 on Thursday.

Infectious disease specialists expect deaths to start dropping soon, but there’s also the risk that improving trends in infections and hospitalizations could be offset by people relaxing and coming together, especially for the Super Bowl.

“I’m worried about Super Bowl Sunday, quite honestly,’' Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press.

Walensky, the new director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said one reason cases and hospitalizations are not rising as dramatically as they were weeks ago is because the effect of holiday gatherings has faded.

Public health experts are watching Florida closely this week, because the Super Bowl will be played in Tampa. City leaders and the NFL are trying to ensure social distancing by capping attendance at a third of the stadium’s capacity -- 22,000 people. Still, there will be parties, events at bars and clubs, and other activities that draw people together.

That’s why the CDC released recommendations for Super Bowl gatherings, encouraging everyone to keep their groups small.

Gathering virtually or with the people you live with is the safest way to celebrate the Super Bowl this year, the CDC says. If you do have a small gathering with people who don’t live with you, outdoors is safer than indoors. This year, choose a safer way to enjoy the game.

Host a virtual Super Bowl watch party.

  • Wear clothing or decorate your home with your favorite team’s logo or colors.
  • Make appetizers or snacks with the people you live with to enjoy while watching the game and share the recipes with your friends and family.
  • Start a text group with other fans to chat about the game while watching.

Attend an outdoor viewing party where viewers can sit 6 feet apart.

  • Use a projector screen to broadcast the game.
  • Sit at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with.

Other recommendations include:

  • Wear a mask
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from anyone who doesn’t live with you
  • Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated indoor spaces
  • Wash your hands
  • Get your flu and COVID-19 shots

For more on the CDC’s recommendations for small gatherings, click here.

To see what the CDC says about large gatherings, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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