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CDC Stresses COVID-19 Safety Ahead of Super Bowl

Despite pandemic, a quarter of Americans plan to attend a watch party

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One in four Americans plan to gather with people outside their household to watch quarterbacks Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes compete in the Super Bowl this Sunday, despite public health warnings to avoid such gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines on attending Super Bowl celebrations or watch parties, though what it recommends most is that people stay home rather than risk exposure to the coronavirus.

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"Attending large gatherings like the Super Bowl increases your risk of getting and spreading COVID-19. The safest way to watch the Super Bowl this year is at home with people you live with,” the CDC advisory says.

In a Seton Hall Sports Poll, however, 25 percent of 1,522 adults surveyed intend to gather with people from outside their household to watch the NFL's championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The poll found that 64 percent do not plan to attend a party, and 11 percent had not decided what they would do for the Super Bowl.

The CDC suggests that adults who are at increased risk for getting a severe case of COVID-19 think hard about it before deciding whether to attend a watch party.

"Consider whether it is safe to attend the gathering or event, especially if you are at increased risk,” the CDC recommends. And stay home if you are sick or have been near someone who has been exposed — or thinks they may have been exposed — to COVID-19.

If you still plan to attend a watch party, the CDC reminds you to follow the basic COVID-19 safety steps: wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands often.

For snacks, the CDC recommends people bring their own food and drinks, and avoid self-serve or buffet-style food options. They also suggest using disposable forks, spoons, knives and plates, and single-use packets of salad dressing and condiments.

Beyond that, the CDC advises that you limit alcohol consumption. Drinking too much could make you more likely to lower your guard when it comes to protecting yourself against COVID-19. It also recommends that you avoid chanting or cheering — activities that could increase the risk of spread. Another CDC suggestion: “Stomp, clap or bring handheld noisemakers instead."

The CDC also advises that an outdoor event is likely safer than an indoor gathering, and that the fewer people who attend, the better.

If the watch party is at a restaurant or bar, the CDC suggests calling the venue to ensure it has taken steps to prevent the spread of the virus. The agency also recommends avoiding the bathrooms during high-traffic times — such as halftime — and to use touchless payment methods, if available.

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