Super Bowl LV ‘wasn’t a super spreader’ event, Florida health officials say

The Big Game

TAMPA, FLORIDA – JANUARY 31: An aerial view of Raymond James Stadium ahead of Super Bowl LV on January 31, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County released data Wednesday regarding COVID-19 transmission during Super Bowl LV events.

The county’s findings show that there were low numbers of coronavirus associated with official Super Bowl events, such as the Super Bowl Experience and the game itself.

Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County Epidemiologist Michael Wiese said they know of 53 cases in the state and four cases out of state in relation to Super Bowl-related events.

The first report of a COVID-19 case in association with the Super Bowl was a set-up worker on Feb. 4, according to the county’s surveillance report.

The four cases out of state were reporting in Illinois, Michigan, Hawaii and North Carolina. Three of the cases specifically attended the game.

In the following weeks after the Super Bowl and other events, Hillsborough County’s COVID-19 overall case rate and percent positivity, which is the number of people who test PCR (nose swabs) or antigen-positive for the first time divided by all the people tested that day, were slightly higher compared to the rest of the state.

Because of this, Wiese says the most transmission during their time of surveillance was likely from private gatherings, in homes, or unofficial events at bars and restaurants.

“As we’ve mentioned throughout the hosting process, there are thousands of varying decisions that go into planning and hosting a Super Bowl, especially during a pandemic,” said Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee CEO and President Rob Higgins. “Literally every step of the journey, health and safety was the driving factor of every decision. We think the results of the health department’s surveillance summary really validate that point.”

Higgins said Super Bowl LV “featured the highest percentage of stadium capacity for any sporting event in the country since the pandemic started.”

The game had over 38 percent stadium capacity, which consisted of 24,835 fans. That number does include the 7,500 vaccinated health care workers in attendance. Additionally, there were also 12,000 credentialed working staff and media that worked in Raymond James for the Super Bowl.

“Super Bowl Experience Presented by Lowes is to be believed to be the first fan festival taking place anywhere in the country since the pandemic started. It resulted in a total attendance of 243,818 fans,” said Higgins. “That’s a Super Bowl record of nearly 35,000 fans per session.”

Higgins also mentioned that from the FDOH’s summary, “only one out of every 4,700 attendees to the Super Bowl or Super Bowl-related activities that we know of tested positive for COVID-19 following the event.”

To view the county’s full report, read below.

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