Feb. 5, 2021 — Although Tremendous Bowl Sunday is just not a nationwide vacation, it’s typically handled as one — a daylong celebration stuffed with pals, household, and meals. However this yr might 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 preserve 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 fearful 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 grow to be ‘Superspreader Sunday.’”

There are three specific variants which have brought about concern thus far — 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 nicely the obtainable vaccines shield towards them.

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

Anthony Fauci, MD, the White Home COVID-19 Response Crew’s chief medical adviser, has issued warnings just like ones he supplied throughout the vacation season. In an interview with NBC’s Right now present Wednesday, he mentioned “there all the time is a spike” of recent infections following historically social occasions.

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

Fortunately, surveys present that many individuals might heed these warnings. The Nationwide Retail Federation reports that simply 28% off folks 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 occasion, and 28% mentioned they’d attend one. 5 p.c mentioned they’d go to a bar or restaurant.