Feb. 5, 2021 — Although Tremendous Bowl Sunday is just not a nationwide vacation, it’s usually handled as one — a daylong celebration stuffed with associates, household, and meals. However this 12 months can be totally different. A minimum of, that’s what docs are hoping.

Medical professionals are pleading with the general public to remain bodily distanced and maintain gatherings digital this Sunday. In any other case, there may very well be renewed spikes in COVID-19 circumstances — a very alarming prospect given the brand new strains which have cropped up.

“We’re apprehensive as a result of there are new variants of COVID, so there’s even much less room for error,” says Preeti Malani, MD, chief well being officer and professor of drugs within the Division of Infectious Illnesses on the College of Michigan. “We don’t need Tremendous Bowl Sunday to turn into ‘Superspreader Sunday.’”

There are three specific variants which have triggered concern to date — originating in the UK, South Africa, and Brazil — all of which have been detected in the USA. They appear to be extra contagious than the unique pressure, and it’s unclear how properly the accessible vaccines defend in opposition to them.

“This Sunday, keep in mind whichever crew you are rooting for and whichever industrial is your favourite, please watch the Tremendous Bowl safely, gathering solely just about or with the individuals you reside with,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, mentioned Wednesday at a White Home COVID-19 Response Group information convention.

Anthony Fauci, MD, the White Home COVID-19 Response Group’s chief medical adviser, has issued warnings much like ones he provided in the course of the vacation season. In an interview with NBC’s Immediately present Wednesday, he mentioned “there all the time is a spike” of latest infections following historically social instances.

“Benefit from the sport, watch it on tv, however do it with the speedy members of your loved ones, the individuals in your family,” he mentioned.

Fortunately, surveys present that many individuals could heed these warnings. The Nationwide Retail Federation reports that simply 28% off individuals say they are going to be throwing or attending a celebration or watching the sport at a bar — the bottom within the survey’s historical past. In 2018, survey outcomes confirmed 18% mentioned they’d host a Tremendous Bowl social gathering, and 28% mentioned they’d attend one. 5 p.c mentioned they’d go to a bar or restaurant.

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