Coronavirus always grow after almost every major holiday [GRAPH BELOW], and this weekend brings another major holiday: Super Bowl Sunday.
And there is reason to worry that it will turn into Superspreader Sunday. This weekend may be more dangerous than most holidays!
Super Bowl parties are usually indoors and can involve more households than a holiday meal.
This year’s game is also happening when contagious new variants of the virus have begun to spread.
There is precedent for sporting events leading to outbreaks. Health officials in Los Angeles believe that gatherings to watch playoff games last fall involving the Lakers (who won the N.B.A. title) and Dodgers (who won the World Series) accelerated the virus’s surge in Southern California.
“Crowds of packed fans crammed into outdoor dining patios,” The Los Angeles Times explained last week, noting that gatherings often included unmasked people “chanting, singing or shouting.” The same story quotes Barbara Ferrer, the public health director of Los Angeles County: “Don’t organize a party at home. Don’t go to a Super Bowl party.”
The next several weeks feel especially important.
Cases have been falling sharply, and the pace of vaccination — though still maddeningly slow — is picking up. We have reached a potential turning point, when Covid-19 deaths could start declining and never again reach their earlier highs.
But the variants present a huge risk. Behavior that was low-risk a few months ago may no longer be. Behavior that was already risky, like attending an indoor party, may be even more so.
“We need to double down,” Dr. Rebecca Wurtz of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health told me. “Here’s our chance to turn the corner, and we really need to seize it.”