Health officials warn people to avoid gatherings on Superbowl Sunday

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Health officials are warning people not to gather for Superbowl parties this Sunday.

"Every time we do have something like this, there always is a spike be it a holiday, Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Just like holidays, health officials said the safest way to celebrate is with the people in your household.

"The toughest thing to do is to stay just within your bubble," said Dr. Denise A. Gonzales, Presbyterian Healthcare Services’ Medical Director. "But if you do choose to bring people into your bubble. There are a lot of mitigating things that we can do"

Dr. Gonzales did some more research and reached out to a sports fanatic.

"I wanted to combine my knowledge of medicine with something practical, so I phoned a friend and I did a consult," explained Dr. Gonzales.

People who are not going to stay within their bubble should try to limit the number of people and the amount of exposure.

"Have your events outdoors," suggested Dr. Gonzales.

People should also have a plan for laying out food.

"Making sure that people are just getting food one at a time, wear your mask while you’re serving your plate, walk away from the table," Dr. Gonzales said.

"Set up two televisions, you can keep groups of people apart watching at the two different screens," she added.

Dr. Gonzales explained that the vaccine doesn’t automatically make a gathering safe.

"The vaccine doesn’t prevent any type of infection or infectivity. What it is well known to do is to decrease the rate of illness that can lead to hospitalization," she said.

In other words, the vaccine is great for the person who got it, but doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t contract COVID and spread it to somebody else.

"Vaccines, whether it’s for COVID or the flu, are most effective when more than 90% of the population is immune because they’ve been fully vaccinated," said Dr. Gonzales.

While things are looking up, hospitals are still working above a hundred percent.

"It can be a little misleading when we say, you know, we’re feeling good the numbers are coming down, but total hospital volumes, COVID and not COVID are still extremely high," said Dr. Gonzales.

That’s why it’s up to New Mexicans to make sure Super Bowl Sunday doesn’t become the next superspreader event.

"As much fun as it is to get together in a Super Bowl party, now is not the time to do that," said Dr. Fauci.