Potential Super Bowl super spreader event has LA County officials unsure when to lift mask mandate

Officials say total hospitalizations must fall below 2,500 per day for seven days straight before lifting mask mandate.

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Sunday, February 13, 2022
Super Bowl LVI clouds SoCal COVID-19 mask mandates going forward
L.A. County health officials want to wait and see how Super Bowl LVI will impact COVID-19 hospitalization numbers before deciding when to lift mask mandates.

LOS ANGELES -- With California's mask mandate going away Feb. 15, some wonder when Los Angeles County will follow suit.

As Super Bowl weekend kicks off, many want to wait and see if the big game, taking place in Inglewood, becomes a super spreader event.

"Whether attending the game at SoFi Stadium, a pregame event, or gathering at someone's home, many of us will be spending several hours eating, drinking, cheering, and shouting with people from very different households," L.A. County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said.

As cases decrease across the nation, at least 11 states are easing restrictions. Across the U.S., new daily COVID-19 cases are down 70 percent, and hospital admissions have dropped 40 percent in the last three weeks.

L.A. County officials say the total hospitalizations need to be below 2,500 per day for seven days straight, the threshold needed to drop the face covering requirement.

This comes with the surprise announcement by the Food and Drug Administration that raises questions about how soon youngsters could get the shots. Officials say they want to look at more data.

The panel of FDA outside experts is trying to determine if children under 5 should start getting extra-low doses of Pfizer's vaccine, and if they would need two or three shots.

They were supposed to meet on Tuesday but announced on Friday that will be postponed.

At a news conference, officials would not say anything specific about the data they've seen so far. They say there is a large amount of information to look at.

"The data that came in very rapidly because of the very large number of cases of omicron, that at this time, it makes sense for us to wait until we have the data from the evaluation of a third dose before taking action," FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks said.

Officials will look at the numbers after Super Bowl LVI. Many doubt fans at the game will strictly adhere to masking rules in SoFi Stadium, and public health officials urge everyone to tread cautiously.

"I want to emphasize that post-surge does not mean the pandemic is over, or that transmission is low, or that they will not be additional unpredictable waves of surges in the future," Ferrer said.