Tampa Fans Throw Post-Super Bowl Superspreader Jamboree!
After Tom Brady made Super Bowl history Sunday night, fans made their own dumb history in the streets of Tampa, Florida. COVID-19 still exists, unlike the Kansas City Chiefs' Super Bowl aspirations, but Tampa Mayor Jane Castor claimed the risks could be managed if people would "take the simple steps of wearing masks and separating when possible." Please take a seat as we shock you with the news that thousands of drunk Floridians didn't follow Castor's advice.
Celebrations in the streets as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win Super Bowl LV tonight #Tampa #TampaBayBuccaneers… https://t.co/u1JYdRWRG8— Brendan Gutenschwager (@Brendan Gutenschwager) 1612754707.0
These assholes acted like they got a Super Bowl ring and some Tom Brady money. I was pleased when Hamilton won all the Tonys, but I didn't feel the urge to dance on top of cars (mostly because I would've been shot). That was back in pre-pandemic days when gathering in large crowds was only annoying, not potentially lethal.
Oh, the Fauci Grinch tried to stop COVID-19 from coming, but the idiots in Idiot-ville showed us the true meaning of stupidity. They flooded the streets, packed bars, and chanted sports-related cheer, unmasked and at a high volume, possibly projecting coronavirus to all the people who weren't social distancing.
Castor released a cute video last week with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas where they reminded everyone that COVID-19 was real and urged people to practice responsible Super Bowl viewing. Lucas advised celebrating in small groups rather than in crowded bars. Castor suggested ordering takeout from your favorite local restaurant and, you know, STAYING HOME. If you insisted on going out to celebrate, at least wear a mask, for God's sake. Castor and Lucas tried their best, but it seemed like no one listened.
Florida has at least 1.7 million reported COVID-19 cases — almost 10 percent of its population — and more than 28,000 Floridians have died. However, GOP Governor Ron DeSantis opposes most COVID-19 restrictions and has actively obstructed attempts to enforce them. Last month, DeSantis said, “We've got to trust people ... Give them the information to, you know, ask that they use common sense." (I'm sure he thought that was a sentence when he said it.)
Here's some more footage of people using their common sense during a pandemic.
“Brady! Brady! Brady!” and "Tampa!" "Bay!" the maskless fans chant outside of Raymond James Stadium. From our repor… https://t.co/uwFjfQ3zVc— Tampa Bay Times (@Tampa Bay Times) 1612754976.0
We have no idea how many people were infected by people shouting, “Brady! Brady! Brady!" Tom Brady, who cheated at football, supported the previous one-term loser president, which is his right as an American. However, he couldn't even bother to model responsible behavior and wear a damn mask to the Super Bowl.
Few people would describe last night's post-Super Bowl partying as a "riot," but the longterm health impact, the increased hospitalizations, could prove more costly than a few broken windows. DeSantis likely would've taken greater precautions to contain the situation if this were an anticipated protest after a police shooting.
Cops were even overwhelmed by drunken revelers in SoHo and knocked to the ground. Wait, why wasn't this immediately declared an unlawful assembly? Bumping into a cop is usually enough to do it during a Black Lives Matter protest.
Tampa police Soho https://t.co/ypLfpzBs2J— Juan Carlos Chavez (@Juan Carlos Chavez) 1612757078.0
COVID-19 hospitalizations are up in Florida but have been declining in Tampa. Unfortunately, Sunday night's celebrations could set the stage for a dramatic surge. Worse, the more contagious UK variant is quickly spreading through the state and is predicted to become the dominant strain by March 23. Yet, an estimated tens of thousands of people gathered Sunday night in Ybor City, a historic neighborhood that normally has a population of just 5,000 people. Ybor City is also predominantly Black and Hispanic, and Florida's COVID-19 rates are twice as high in those communities.
All this because of football? I can't help feeling deflated.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."