Will Tampa’s Super Bowl be a super spreader? Experts worry about what NFL can’t control

The NFL has worked with authorities at all levels to keep Super Bowl LV safe for the host city of Tampa, where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs.

With a smaller stadium crowd and requirements for masks and social distancing in and around Raymond James Stadium, league and city officials say they’ve done all they can to prevent the game from doubling as a coronavirus superspreading event.

Jagpreet Chhatwal, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, helped design a tool to detect COVID-19 outbreaks in counties that hosted professional football games. Data collected over three months on NFL and NCAA football games suggests that “attendance in the stadiums is unlikely to lead to outbreaks,” Chhatwal said.

“We can essentially break a transmission chain — and prevent a super spreader event — by adhering to masking and 6-feet social distancing at Raymond James Stadium,” Chhatwal said. 

Experts told PolitiFact that they’re worried that beyond the game, super-spreading behavior could take place at local bars, restaurants, tailgates and house parties. The safest option for fans in Tampa and across the U.S. is to watch at home with their immediate households or bubbles, since mixing households indoors carries increased risks.

“Post-game celebrations could be concerning if the bars and restaurants are open in the area, where people tend not to take appropriate precautions,” Chhatwal said.

To read the entire Politifact article, visit https://www.politifact.com/article/2021/feb/01/will-tampas-super-bowl-be-covid-19-super-spreader-/