This is not the year to throw a Super Bowl party

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Let’s face it: there’s a lot to love about Super Bowl weekend, from the players to the halftime show and the festive celebrations. But this uniquely American event also has the potential to be a COVID-19 super spreader.

As Americans prepare for Super Bowl LV WeekendHouston doctors are concerned that this very famous soccer game may indeed turn out to be a super-spreading coronavirus event for the city. In fact, the drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations could be offset by in-person Super Bowl parties, according to Memorial Hermann President and CEO Dr. David Callender.

“We want everyone to party, but do it safely,” Callender told Chron. “Our hospitals are always very busy. Our emergency room is crowded. We are not able to care for people who have issues other than COVID-19 as much as we would like.”

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If you can celebrate the event outdoors, this is the year to do it, Callender said.

What’s especially concerning about this event is that there are many opportunities for transmission – between sharing snacks and shouting for support for your favorite team while being tightly huddled around others. Perhaps the main concern regarding this weekend’s celebration is the likelihood of transmission of the virus from asymptomatic people, Callender added.

“Thirty to fifty percent of the spread of this virus comes from asymptomatic people,” Callender said. “They could perfectly look good, and they could be a next door neighbor, even a family member. We can contract the virus from them when they seem to be otherwise.”

Avoid congregating with people outside of your immediate household, Callender reiterated. If you are celebrating indoors, try to keep windows and doors open if possible.

“Anytime we have something like that, where people gather inside, we have a worry,” Callender said. “Even though things are a little better in Houston, we are still at a high number of hospitalizations and new cases emerging on a daily basis.”

Even if you received the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, it does not protect you from the potential transmission of COVID-19 during Super Bowl parties.

“A fairly small percentage of those in Houston who have the vaccine,” Callender said. “With a single dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, we only get about 50 percent protection at best. It will take some time to reach that level of herd immunity in Houston.”

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