COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)-Local medical experts are again warning Ohio State fans about gameday gatherings ahead of Monday night’s National Championship Game against Alabama.
“If you observe behavior during sporting events, they are all riskier things for spreading this very contagious virus,” said Dr. Joseph Gastaldo from OhioHealth.
Gastaldo explained that activities like eating and drinking, high-fiving, and even yelling are inherent risks with gatherings for sporting events.
“Anytime you speak louder, or raise your voice and yell, that’s more likely you’re going to have droplets put in the air that could infect somebody if somebody has COVID-19,” Dr. Gastaldo describes. “Really pause and think twice if you’re going to be with people outside of your household to watch a sporting event.”
Household watch parties are a game day favorite for Buckeyes fans across the state, particularly on Ohio State’s campus. This year students are playing it safe.
“I’m just kind of hanging out with roommates, keeping it kind of small. Not really going out or doing anything for it,” said Ohio State senior Tyler McClain.
“I’ll just be staying at home. That’s the first day of class, I actually have class until 7:15 but then I’ll be watching the game,” said Haley Foster, an Ohio State Grad Student.
For Foster, attending Ohio State has been a lifelong goal.
“I definitely always dreamed about coming here for the football, that’s a big thing for me,” Foster said. “Coming here in the middle of a pandemic, still great, but obviously kind of missing that social football aspect.”
COVID-19 has presented a new reality campus wide.
“I’ve seen in the neighborhoods on game days, people are still out-and-about. But I think it would be a lot more hectic, a lot more celebrating if there wasn’t a pandemic,” Foster said.
As for what students would be doing for the game Monday if they didn’t have to worry about COVID?
“I think if we weren’t in the middle of the pandemic, I would definitely be out-and-about, hanging out with classmates or whatever watching the game,” said Foster.
“If it weren’t for the pandemic, I’d probably going to a party or something like that,” McClain said. “Going and seeing a big group of friends and whatnot. Maybe even going down to the game myself, so who knows?”
When Ohio State prepares to take the field Monday, and you’re ready to yell “O-H,” doctors ask that you do it in the comfort of your own home.
“I do know the Buckeye football players wouldn’t want any celebration or viewing party to turn into a super spreader event,” said Dr. Gastaldo.
Gastaldo recommends the same safety and mitigation strategies throughout the football weekend, including when the Browns play its first playoff game in 18 years on Sunday night.