We’re still in the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020 and 2021, health officials said that Super Bowl parties resulted in an uptick in COVID-19 cases. But both of those events occurred before vaccines were either invented or were easily available.
Now more people are vaccinated, and the omicron variant is still circulating, but is Super Bowl Sunday risky?
Yes, say health experts. Precautions are still needed.
The omicron variant remains highly transmissible and widespread. That means you should consider risks and plan accordingly.
While you may be vaccinated, many people are not, especially children under five. People who are immunocompromised also may not have as much protection from vaccines as healthy people.
Also, vaccines don’t prevent you from getting sick with COVID-19. They can help lessen symptoms and likely prevent hospitalizations and death.
With that in mind, do you still want to get together with friends and family to watch the Los Angeles Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals?
If so, here are some precautions to take:
- If you are mixing households, make sure everyone is fully vaccinated, including boosted. Remember, children, too, should be vaccinated.
- Get tested. Everyone attending the party, including young kids not yet old enough to be vaccinated, should use a rapid home antigen test about an hour before the party to check if they are infectious.
- If the weather is nice, move the TV outdoors and keep everyone there as well. If you have to stay inside, consider wearing a mask and open the windows. Turn on the ceiling fan to keep the air moving.
- Since many people shout and cheer during the game, increasing airflow will help disperse the air droplets we exhale, which is how the coronavirus spreads.
- Spread out as much as possible, and don’t invite too many people to the party. The more attendees, the more risk that someone has the virus.
- If you don’t feel well, don’t host or attend a party.
If you attend a party and get sick afterward, don’t wait for a positive test result before telling other attendees of your symptoms. If one person has symptoms, everyone should get tested soon as possible to avoid spreading the virus further.
Prefer minimal risks? Health experts say the best way to protect yourself is to stay at home and watch the game with your immediate family. Another option? Choose to host a party online and watch with friends and family using Google Hangouts, Zoom or streaming services that include virtual group watch features.
Maybe next year, life will be a bit more normal.