FAYETTEVILLE, Ark — Saturday (September 11) Fayetteville was full of excitement with a sold-out Razorback Stadium and a crowd of nearly 75-thousand people as they celebrated a win against Texas.
However, that celebration may be short-lived if covid cases increase.
“When there’s large groups of people close together, lots of yelling and cheering. That heightens the possibility for the virus to spread,” said Arkansas Department of Health Chief Medical Director for Immunizations in Outbreak Response, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha.“It is possible that we will see an increase of cases as a result."
With the highly transmissible delta variant, she’s worried about the virus spreading as many people at the game were unmasked and standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
However, she says we won’t see the effects of the game for a week or so. Dr. Dillaha said we will also have to rely heavily on contact tracing.
“It will take people who participated in the event a few days to develop symptoms and then maybe a day or two to get tested and get their results,” said Dr. Dillaha.
With another ten games left in the season, sporting events like this one have her concerned. As football season continues, flu season is only kicking off.
“We really don’t want flu and covid spreading at the same time in a way that would potentially overwhelm our hospitals,” Dr. Dillaha said. She’s asking everyone to safe by getting their flu shot and covid vaccine.
“We have some wonderful hospitals in Northwest Arkansas, but they have worked... been working very hard for a very long time to take care of a very large number of patients. I would encourage everyone to do their part,” said Dr. Dillaha.
We’ve reached out to the University of Arkansas for a statement and have not heard back.