COVID

‘Now is not the time to do that’: Anthony Fauci urges fans to avoid Super Bowl parties outside their households

“Lay low and cool it.”

If you’re planning to throw a big Super Bowl LV watch party, Dr. Anthony Fauci has a direct message for you: Don’t. 

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The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden appeared on both “Good Morning America” and the “Today” show on Wednesday to urge Americans to “lay low and cool it” with their Super Bowl celebrations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fauci said he’s hopeful that the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is being held in Tampa with 25,000 fans in attendance, won’t turn out to be a super spreader event itself. 

“I believe that they’re trying to keep people separated enough in the stands, wearing masks, so they don’t have that proximity,” Fauci said on “GMA. “

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Since the event is outside, as long as people abide by keeping their masks on and following physical distancing, things should be “OK.”

As for those watching the event on TV, Fauci said there should “absolutely not” be gatherings with individuals outside your household. 

“Watch the Super Bowl on TV, enjoy it, have a party in your house with your family — with the people who are there,” the doctor said. “But the one thing you don’t want to do is you … don’t want parties with people that you haven’t had much contact with. You just don’t know if they’re infected.”

Since the pandemic began, each time there has been a holiday, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, the United States has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases, linked to people holding gatherings with individuals outside their households. 

“As much fun as it is to get together at a big Super Bowl party, now is not the time to do that,” Fauci said on “Today.” “Watch the game and enjoy it, but do it with your family or with people that are in your household.”

Preventing spread of the virus remains essential as variants that are more contagious and potentially somewhat resistant to vaccines continue to emerge in the United States, he said on the network. 

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At this point, the United States is not “winning” the vaccination race against the variants, Fauci said. There is a concern that one of the mutations of the virus could become the dominant strain in the country, which may require the existing vaccines to be “upgraded.”

“You could probably do something like that in two to three months because the vaccines themselves are very flexible and adaptable, to be able to upgrade them,” the doctor said. “We don’t need it right now, but we’re going in that direction anyway just in case. Because as you mentioned, the mutants are here in the United States. They are not dominant yet. We can prevent them from becoming dominant by trying to suppress the replication. But if they do become dominant, we may need to upgrade the vaccine, and that’s exactly the direction we’re going right now.”

The way to prevent a virus from further evolving or mutating is to prevent it from replicating, Fauci said. That can be achieved by doubling down on public health measures that prevent spread from person-to-person and by vaccinating as many individuals as you can. 

“The more people that are protected from infection, the less opportunity you give to the virus to mutate,” he said. “It can’t mutate if it doesn’t replicate. So the more you suppress it, the less it does.”

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