PHOENIX — As tens of thousands of people are set to descend to the Valley for Super Bowl LVII and the Waste Management Phoenix Open - how concerned should we be about a spike in COVID-19 cases or other illnesses like the flu?
“We could see a rise in cases,” said Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, National Medical Director at One Medical.
But she adds it’s unclear how much of an increase that would be.
“It’s often really hard to predict,” Dr. Bhuyan said. “I don’t anticipate we’ll see a huge surge in cases, but we might see an increase.”
Currently, in Maricopa County, community transmission for COVID-19 is High, with 1993 new cases reported this week. That was a 38% increase from the last seven days, according to CDC data.
During that same period, hospitals reported a 21% drop in hospitalizations related to COVID-19. Meaning although there are new cases, they aren’t as severe as they used to be.
“We have so much more immunity in the population because people are vaccinated, people have had COVID before so that immunity is something that’s protecting us,” Dr. Bhuyan said.
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“But that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods,” said Dr. Michael White, Valleywise Health's chief clinical officer. “Especially as all these folks are coming into our state to celebrate.”
With more people in the state and it still being flu season, Dr. White expects hospitalizations to increase over the next few weeks, and many need emergency care.
During Super Bowl LV in Tampa, The Florida Department of Health reported only 53 positive cases were identified from the big game events.
“We might see the transmission happening in house parties,” said Dr. Bhuyan. “If you got out, wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and get vaccinated.”
The Arizona Health Department of Health Services told 12News they don’t have any health plan or advisories in place in anticipation of the big game, as they said that’s the county’s public health authority.
A spokesperson from Maricopa County told 12News they “do have a plan [for the] Super Bowl, which we have not published.”
They did not respond to the question of when they will release that information.
Get all the latest news and updates about what is happening around the Valley for Super Bowl LVII.