Kansas Metropolis Chiefs superfan Ty Rowton hugged strangers within the streets of Miami final yr after watching his staff win the Tremendous Bowl after which joined tons of of hundreds of followers again residence at a victory parade, considering little of a mysterious virus that his buddies have been starting to speak about.
The championship looks like a lifetime in the past. Now the Chiefs are making ready to play within the Tremendous Bowl once more, and the virus has morphed right into a once-in-a-century pandemic that has well being officers on edge as followers congregate at events and bars for the sport.
The nation’s high well being officers sounded the alarm this week in regards to the Tremendous Bowl being a possible superspreader occasion, they usually urged folks to collect with mates over Zoom, not in crowds.
“I’m anxious about Tremendous Bowl Sunday, fairly truthfully. Individuals collect, they watch video games collectively. We’ve seen outbreaks already from soccer events,” stated Rochelle Walensky, head of the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention. “So I actually do suppose that we have to watch this and watch out.”
The Tremendous Bowl comes because the nation sees a dramatic drop in new virus circumstances – an indication that the an infection spike from vacation gatherings is easing. The virus has killed greater than 459,000 folks within the US, however the seven-day rolling common for day by day new circumstances went from 180,489 as of January 22 to 125,854 as of Friday, in response to knowledge from Johns Hopkins College.
Well being officers worry the sport might seed new circumstances at precisely the unsuitable time. Simply this week, the brand new coronavirus pressure that unfold shortly in the UK was confirmed in Kansas after turning up in a number of different states. Different extremely contagious variants even have scientists anxious. States are in a race to vaccinate earlier than the newcomers turn out to be widespread and extra strains emerge.
BRADY SEEKING 7TH SUPER BOWL
After an extended yr of shutdowns, it stays to be seen whether or not Individuals will heed the warnings for an occasion that was watched by greater than 100 million folks final yr. The truth that it’s Tom Brady in search of his seventh Tremendous Bowl victory in opposition to Kansas Metropolis’s star quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, solely provides to the intrigue surrounding the sport.
Rowton, who goes to video games carrying an arrowhead on his head and a cape signed by gamers, received’t be hugging strangers this yr. However he received’t precisely be following the recommendation of well being officers both: He plans to eat barbecue and watch the sport in a buddy’s basement “man cave.” He shall be unmasked with about 10 different followers.
“I’ve misplaced much more folks to medication this yr who’ve relapsed, so for me it’s a kind of the place I can’t reside in worry as a result of if I try this, I’ll most likely relapse and begin ingesting once more, and that may find yourself killing me for positive,” stated Rowton, a recovering alcoholic who attended 329 straight residence video games earlier than ending the streak this season.
The sport shall be performed in entrance of about 25,000 followers in Tampa, lots of them vaccinated well being employees.
In Tampa, Mayor Jane Castor introduced a short lived ordinance requiring that masks be worn exterior in a number of widespread gathering spots. The order states that violators might be fined $500 as a “final resort.”
One other ordinance requires masks at any indoor location when social distancing shouldn’t be doable. That would come with many bars and eating places however not personal residences.