During an interview on NBC's Today on Wednesday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed concern among health experts that Sunday's Super Bowl LV and the parties held to watch it could become super spreader events, as reported by the Associated Press.
"You don't want parties with people that you haven't had much contact with. You just don't know if they're infected, so, as difficult as that is, at least this time around, just lay low and cool it," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said during his appearance.
Fauci went on to say that events such as watch parties for Sunday's matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers always pose a concern over coronavirus spikes. He repeated that it wasn't the time to hold such gatherings, which could bring potentially infected people to a large group and sicken others.
Fauci encouraged fans to enjoy the game, but to do so at home with those in their immediate household.
The NFL has taken measures to ensure safety at the event, with capacity at Raymond James Stadium capped at 22,000 people in response to pandemic concerns and citywide coronavirus mandates. Two players on the Kansas City Chiefs have been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list, due to having close contact with someone who later tested positive, and will miss the game. Fauci laughed off questions about which team he was supporting in the matchup.
The nation's leading infectious disease doctor also addressed growing concerns about new coronavirus variants appearing in the United States, as reported by The Hill. He urged Americans to continue following health care guidelines and to have personal contact with as few others as possible, as the potential for mutations rises in the same manner as the virus is spread.
"The more people you have that are protected the less opportunity you give to the virus to mutate. It can't mutate if it doesn't replicate. So the more you suppress it, the less it does," Fauci explained.
States across the country have reported the appearance in recent days of variant strains that are considered more contagious. Fauci did express optimism that the approved vaccinations made by Moderna and Pfizer appear to be effective against the current variations of the virus. When asked by host Savanah Guthrie whether the vaccination process is staying ahead of the spread of these new strains, the doctor lamented that demand for the vaccine "far exceeds" the current supply.