Tarrant County’s top health officials are claiming without evidence that large crowds for Texas Rangers games may turn into a coronavirus super spreading event.
“We need to be sensible about how we bring back normal. There are times when you have to be cautious, and right now is the time to be cautious,” said Vinny Taneja, the county’s public health director, according to the Star-Telegram.
The Rangers announced that 38,238 fans turned out at Globe Life field on Monday, a number representing a sell-out crowd and the largest number the Rangers have had in more than a year, not to mention the largest group of fans for a pro baseball game since the pandemic was declared.
But Taneja bemoaned the stadium full of Rangers fans for ignoring social distancing and warnings to avoid large crowds.
Taneja claimed it was “hard” for him to see the huge crowd of baseball fans, adding, “COVID is still active; the flu is still active. Are we really wanting to ask for trouble?”
Still, the numbers are falling in Texas. Per the Star-Telegram: “Tarrant County has been on a downward trend in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and positivity rate since the end of January. The county has gone from reporting almost 20,000 cases a week to about 1,000 to 3,000 in recent weeks.”
Taneja is not on solid ground with his disgust over the Rangers game. Similar doomsaying of “super spreader events” was leveled at a growing number of significant public events over the last year.
Health officials accused Super Bowl 55 of being a super-spreading event in the making when QB Tom Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a lopsided win over the Kansas City Chiefs in February. Not only were health officials in Florida worried, officials on the other side of the country in California even banned Super Bowl parties for fear of spreading the virus.
But despite the loud proclamations, it turned out that there was no appreciable rise in coronavirus cases either in Florida, where the game was held or elsewhere as fans went home.
With another example of undue warnings about super spreading events, officials have constantly demanded that states keep youth sports shuttered to prevent the virus’s spread. But a large study in Wisconsin showed that very few kids, coaches, or parents got the virus when Wisconsin restarted its youth sports despite the panic.
Notre Dame was also accused of sponsoring a super spreader event when students stormed the football field to celebrate the school’s upset win over Clemson last November. But no outbreak of the virus was reported in the months after the game.
Like Notre Dame, Alabama fans also faced criticism for swarming onto the field in January after the Crimson Tide won its national championship. Again, no reports of a rise in virus cases were found in the months after the big game.
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