Despite the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to grip the nation, a quarter of respondents to a poll said they planned to gather with members outside of their household to watch Super Bowl 55 between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Seton Hall Sports Poll collected answers from 1,522 adults spread all over the country from Jan. 22-25. That data show that 25% of respondents said they would gather with people outside of their home — defined as those who aren't roommates or cohabitants — to watch the game. Sixty-four percent of respondents said they would not attend a gathering and 11% said they were not sure.
That breakdown was even more evident among those who considered themselves to be avid fans, with 40% of that group saying they would indeed gather with members outside of their household.
This comes as federal health officials continue to advise against gatherings with others outside of their homes to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 25.5 million Americans and has killed more than 427,000 as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourage gatherings, but advise that strict precautions should be observed if people decide to have them. Among the considerations are hosting the event outdoors, social distancing and minimal physical contact while in the presence of others and added hygiene and mask wearing by the attendees.
The CDC, however, clearly states that such gatherings are likely to increase the spread of the virus.
"Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu," the CDC said in an update about holiday gatherings released earlier this month.
The poll also asked whether people expected the actual game to be less exciting, "given all the restrictions and limitations on players, gameplay and restricted fan attendance" related to the pandemic.
In response, 19% said they strongly agreed with the statement, while 28% said they somewhat agreed for a total of 47% saying they agreed in some form. That compares to just 12% saying they strongly disagreed and 16% saying they somewhat disagreed for a total of 28%.
The Super Bowl will be played in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and is scheduled for Sunday, February 7, with a 6:30 p.m. ET kickoff.