TAMPA, Fla. – Will Super Bowl LV be considered a COVID-19 Super Spreader event?
Only time and tests will tell, but in the meantime, Hillsborough County wants to trace any positive cases that may have occurred.
What You Need To Know
- Hillsborough County health department is working with CDC to track possible Super Bowl-related COVID cases
- Officials are using a CDC-run program called Epi-X
- Large, maskless crowds are a big concern
“Certainly it makes me cringe a little bit as a public health professional,” said Michael Wiese, Epidemiology Program Manager for the Florida Department of Health Hillsborough County.
He, along with everyone else, saw the crowds.
“We try to encourage social distancing, mask wearing, and those were things that were not the images that we saw with some of that Super Bowl coverage,” he said.
The county has put out a national call for positive COVID case information associated with the Super Bowl.
“We sent out a notice through a CDC-run program called Epi-X, basically just saying that if anyone identifies cases associated with the Super Bowl, to provide notification to us here in Tampa,” Wiese explained.
The network connects 6,000 users from health departments, poison control centers, federal agencies, and other public health organizations.
It’s frequently used to monitor outbreaks.
“Because the Super Bowl draws such a national and international crowd, so wanted to make sure we weren’t missing those pieces of information from other states,” Wiese said.
Whether there is a rise in cases or not, the county will have the data.
“We’ll see. We’ll see if we find cases associated with the Super Bowl, but my instinct is really to hope that people are usually using those mitigation measures,” he said.