Feb. 6 (UPI) — On the one-year anniversary of the first known U.S. COVID death, more than 450,000 others have followed, and public health officials are cautioning members of the public to abstain from hosting Super Bowl parties this weekend.
As of Saturday afternoon, 461,315 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of those, 3,553 were new deaths reported between Friday and Saturday.
A total of 26.78 million Americans have contracted the virus, with 130,261 of those infections newly reported Saturday.
It’s been one year since the first known death from the novel coronavirus, which took place in Santa Clara County, Calif., on Feb. 6, 2020. Officials didn’t announce the cause of this particular death until April, upon competition of an autopsy.
The first reported death, however, was announced Feb. 29.
As of Friday, the CDC’s seven-day moving average of new reported cases was 129,718 — less than half what they were a month ago. On Jan. 8, the CDC logged 314,093 new cases.
Public health officials attributed the early-January spike to Christmas celebrations, and have cautioned that the Super Bowl this weekend could cause another spike in cases.
About 25% of football fans in a recent Seton Hall poll said they plan to attend or host a Super Bowl party.
During a Friday MSNBC appearance, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Super Bowl parties are a perfect setting “for a mini super-spreader event” and cautioned people to wait until next year.
“Enjoy the Super Bowl, but don’t do it with a large crowd of people in your house in a place when it’s cold and you don’t have good ventilation,” he said.
Mayors of Kansas City and Tampa Bay, whose NFL teams are facing off Sunday, have both issued similar messages.
“I can’t say it seriously enough: I want everyone who is celebrating this Sunday’s game to be back next year, and that means not allowing 2,000 more Kansas Citians to die,” Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “I’m a lifelong fan of the Chiefs, but I am more of a fan of people’s families sticking around and staying alive.”
Lucas joined Tampa Mayor Jane Castor for a public service announcement encouraging their constituents to celebrate safely.