How to have a Super Bowl party in a pandemic.

Why is a Super Bowl party a risk? 

Secondary Attack Rate (SAR) is a measure of disease transmissibility. It is the proportion of people within a group exposed to an infected person that gets sick. This doesn’t count people who aren’t susceptible (e.g. vaccinated, currently ill). For example, if 2 people get COVID19 after a birthday party of 6 people, the SAR would be 2 out of 6 or 40%. 

How does this relate to a Super Bowl party? SAR is much higher in indoor settings where people from different households are close together for an extended time. With guests crowded around a TV for 3+ hours of game time, plus commercials and a halftime show, a watch party is a serious risk.

What if my guests get tested first?

While testing reduces risk of unknowingly spreading COVID19, it’s not a fool proof strategy. A negative test only means you are negative at the exact moment you get tested.  Plus, rapid tests are not very good for people without symptoms. A study done in Wisconsin found that rapid tests only correctly give positive results about 41% of the time for asymptomatic people. 

How can I limit risk and still watch the game?

The safest way to watch is from home and to connect with people you don’t live with online. Check out CDC suggestions for virtual celebrations here

If you do gather with friends or family who you don’t live with, take these simple steps to stop the spread of COVID-19:

  • Ask everyone to wear a mask (except when eating and drinking) and keep 6-feet apart;
  • Stay outside while you watch or open windows inside to improve ventilation;
  • Suggest that guests bring their own food and chairs to limit high-touch surfaces; 
  • Keep it small! Fewer guests and people per room keeps everyone safer


Last update: February 5, 2021, 16:00 PST

Science review: ERS