WASHINGTON -- Americans need to forget about snacks and drinks and inviting friends over for the big game because COVID-19 could be the unwelcome guest Sunday at Super Bowl parties.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to US President Joe Biden, warned Wednesday there could be a spike in Covid-19 cases nationwide if people stage or attend traditional Super Bowl bashes next weekend.
"As much fun as it is to get together for a big Super Bowl party, now is not the time to do that," Fauci said in an appearance on NBC's Today show.
About 450,000 people have died in the United States of the deadly virus, which began shutting down US events last March, about six weeks after the 2020 Super Bowl.
This year's NFL championship game, Super Bowl 55, will send the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the Bucs' home field in Tampa, Florida.
"Watch the game and enjoy it, but do it with your family or the people in your household," Fauci said in TV appearances. "This time around, just lay low and cool it."
Major US parties are an annual habit around the Super Bowl, with friends and families gathering to socialize and watch the telecast for unique advertisements as well as who wins the NFL championship.
"Every time we have something like this, there's always a spike, be it a holiday, Christmas, New Year's, Thanksgiving," Fauci said on NBC.
"Super Bowl is a big deal in the United States. Enjoy the game. Watch it on television. But do it with the immediate members of your family, the people in your household."
A crowd of about 25,000 at the Super Bowl will include 7,500 vaccinated health care workers, but Fauci doesn't see the NFL championship showdown at Raymond James Stadium as a super-spreader event.
"I believe that they are trying to keep people separated enough in the stands, wearing masks, so they don't have that proximity," Fauci said on ABC's Good Morning America.
© Agence France-Presse