Fears of a ‘super spreader event’ occurred in the hours after College Football’s national championship after fans took to the street in huge numbers to celebrate Alabama’s victory.
Alabama Crimson Tide defeated Ohio State 52-24 for the national championship as wide receiver DeVonta Smith stole the show as a huge NFL prospect.
But health experts and viewers were shocked as fans took to the streets before and after the event to celebrate with many clearly flouting public health orders.
Videos started surfacing around lunchtime of local bars reaching standing-room only capacity with fans packed shoulder-to-shoulder inside and out.
LARGE CROWDS GATHER IN TUSCALOOSA AT BARS: large crowds of fans are waiting in long lines at bars on the strip trying to get seats inside to watching tonight’s college national championship game pic.twitter.com/x9f1Dawp8c
— Tim Reid (@reidreporterguy) January 11, 2021
My daughter sent this short video from Tuscaloosa just after noon today. People are lined up to get into bars seven hours before the nat’l championship kickoff game. Mayor @WaltMaddox please close the bars today and stop this super spreader event in Tuscaloosa. pic.twitter.com/6ZvLZMF9xM
— Judge David Carpenter (@DavidOCarpenter) January 11, 2021
— Malique (@MaliqueRankin) January 11, 2021
One student was asked if he was concerned about the virus in the crowds, to which he said: “Not at all.”
Fans celebrate after Alabama victory
Following Alabama’s national championship crown, videos emerged of fans celebrating on the street near the campus in huge numbers.
Traffic light cameras picked up thousands of fans in an area known as ‘The Strip’ huddled together.
Alabama Crimson Tide fans flood the streets of Tuscaloosa after the team secured its 18th national title. pic.twitter.com/k9UCH8BC4m
— James Benedetto (@james_benedetto) January 12, 2021
— Simone Eli (@SimoneEli_TV) January 12, 2021
Really just unfathomable ignorance here. Shameful to see
— Nice Marmot (@atoeby3oclock) January 12, 2021
Alabama Crimson Tide football fans—many of them maskless—flooded the streets of Tuscaloosa following the team's national championship win on Monday night. Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox had earlier asked residents not to congregate due to COVID-19 risks. pic.twitter.com/awYC0fIKB9
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 13, 2021
This crazy. While I will say congratulations to Alabama for winning the national football championship I think it’s ridiculous for everybody to be there with the conditions that were in. I’m not gonna be surprised if somebody in that crowd or all get COVID. Wear your mask please. https://t.co/WNy2gSf2Zm
— Ferman Torres (@MainEventPlayer) January 12, 2021
Local guidelines require residents to ‘wear a mask’ at a restaurant while they are not seated and eating or drinking.
The order also limits groups to eight people and requires that groups remain spaced six feet apart.
Local news reports that masks were scarcely seen at the packed bars, while fans clearly flouted the social distance orders before and after the game.
The scenes defied orders from Mayor Walt Maddox and the Alabama State Health Office.
The university released a statement claiming officials had worked to minimise risk before, during and after the game including: “issuing warnings and admonitions about the need for masks, social distancing and responsible behaviour.”
“As a result of recent events, we are allowing faculty to be flexible for the next two weeks with the option to temporarily hold classes remotely,” the statement added. “Students have the option to attend in-person activities remotely as well.”
As of Sunday, the Covid Tracking Project reported that the rate for new cases and Covid-related deaths in the US was at its highest point at any time during the pandemic.
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