Clearly, the headline was facetious, but it seems like many people in the media are worried about this.
In the days leading up to football’s biggest night, Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, urged Americans to stay home and “just lay low and cool it.” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor (D) made a video asking fans to cover their faces after she updated the city’s mask mandate to include all outdoor areas used for Super Bowl events and gatherings.
It didn’t work out.
Outside Raymond James Stadium on Sunday night, three barefaced Buccaneers fans jumped up and down on the roof of a white car, waving their arms. One man held out his phone and recorded the largely maskless Tampa crowd cheering, flying flags, hugging and colliding into each other as the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers won the franchise’s first Super Bowl in 18 years.
Other antics ensued, including hundreds gathering around a man who climbed a tree and swaying it back and forth; pedestrians walking against traffic as cars drove by with celebrators standing through sunroofs waving team flags, and police officers getting knocked down as intoxicated patrons poured out of the bars by the thousands.
Throughout Tampa, this weekend, hordes of football fans crammed into bars, clogged streets and belted chants — many without masks, despite dire warnings from public health experts that the Super Bowl could become a superspreader event.
In a news conference Sunday, Castor also pleaded with fans to act responsibly if the Buccaneers won, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Although hospitalizations are up, cases in Tampa have been declining. But public health experts warn that the events in Tampa over the weekend could lead to another surge.
Marissa Levine, a professor of public health practice at the University of South Florida in Tampa, told The Post that the conditions around the Super Bowl are ripe for spreading the coronavirus. Celebrations, she said, often lead to people letting their guards down and cheering in close range with others can create the “perfect conditions for transmitting covid.”
Police patrolled the streets, but it is unclear whether they handed out any citations for people not wearing masks. The fine could be up to $500. It is also unclear how many people were arrested amid the celebrations or if any property was damaged.
Judging by the game, the most damage was done to the Kansas City Chiefs.