Local experts weighs in on how Notre Dame football games haven't been super spreader events
SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The Fighting Irish have hosted 2 games here on campus this season and there’s only been 6 positive cases so far. Experts say the low number is due in large part to games being held outdoors where the risk of spread is known to be much lower compared to games held indoors.
“I didn’t even know they were deemed super spreader events. I bought 6 tickets for to invite 5 friends to the Purdue/Notre Dame game and we had a blast we went to the tailgates and I feel like if I took the trouble to get vaccinated twice that’s my freedom to go and be with people," says Sheryl Dawes, a Notre Dame football fan.
For many this is the first time they’ve been in a large crowd since the pandemic began and with stadiums nationwide welcoming thousands of fans back into packed stands this year — many were concerned the return of such crowded events could cause an uptick in COVID-19 cases, but according to Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox he says we’ve only seen 6 cases stem from the current Notre Dame football season.
“You know people are largely oriented towards the field so if I’m yelling and cheering my droplets are hitting you in the back of the head. Rather than right in the face or the side of your face," says Dr. Fox.
Fox says the low positivity rates are due in large part to the outdoor atmosphere the games take place in. The health department learned much about how low transmission rates could be in these types of events after watching baseball stadiums make the transition to full capacity earlier this year.
“People from outside who’s vaccination status we don’t know that poses a bigger risk than the tailgating outside or you know attending in the bull or the stadium," says Dr. Fox.
While the numbers are low some say they are still attending games, but are more cautious than years past because they know there’s still a risk of catching COVID when in large crowds.
“I don’t feel completely safe however, I do feel safe enough to go. Life is full of risks and I’m not a huge football person, but I enjoy the football atmosphere because people love it obviously and Notre Dame does is better than anyplace else," says Patrick Mannion, a Notre Dame football fan.
Notre Dame does require all guests to wear masks when indoors on campus and those who aren’t vaccinated, to wear them outdoors, too.